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New Year's Source Reduction Resolutions
Amma helps clean up the coastline near Amritapuri
Amma helps clean up the coastline near Amritapuri
While we greet the New Year and a new decade, let us consider at least one resolution to honor Amma’s suggestions regarding Source Reduction (reducing waste at the source aside from simply recycling).

"The greatest journey begins with the smallest step. Let each one of us welcome the New Year by making small changes in our life. If we are all able to do that, then will be able to usher in a new age of love, compassion and selflessness." - from Amma’s 2013 New Year’s message

A few ways in which we can reduce our consumption of the precious resources of our Mother Earth:

  • Keep cloth grocery bags in the car and use them at the grocery store

  • Use wax wraps instead of plastic wrap

  • Make your own laundry detergent
  • Ingredients:
    • Washing Soda (Arm and Hammer Brand available at most stores)
    • Borax (20 Mule Team Borax available at most grocery stores)
    • Bar Soap (Dr. Bronner’s, Ivory, or other natural, unscented bar soap)
    Here is a testimonial from a devotee using a similar recipe:

      "I made my own liquid laundry detergent because I was interested in not only reducing my environmental footprint, but also saving money. The recipe I used made approximately 5 gallons of laundry detergent. I stored the detergent in a 5 gallon bucket that could be reused over and over again. It cost approximately $2 - $3 to make a 5 gallon batch.

      For HE front loading washers, use 1/2 cup for a large load. For regular top-loading washers, use 1 cup for a large load. With these measurements, your $2 - $3 batch of laundry detergent will last you between 80 -160 large load washes!

      I used the detergent for all my laundry and I never noticed a difference in the washing power of my homemade detergent versus the commercially made detergent. It was a huge savings and greatly reduced my environmental footprint because I was able to use the same plastic container over and over again and the other ingredients came packaged in cardboard and paper which could be easily recycled, composted or added to a fireplace for fuel."

  • Reduce the amount of paper towels used by having a stack of washcloths handy to wipe counters, spills and use for other messy jobs

  • Keep a cloth napkin in your purse or lunch bag for use at your desk, restaurants or satsang.
    If every household in the U.S. used just one less 70-sheet roll of paper towels, that would save 544,000 trees each year.

    One devotee’s experience:
    • "I bought a set of 8 cotton dinner napkins which I have washed and re-used for many years. I keep one in my purse and one at my desk and cycle through them during the week. At the end of the week I wash them. I use them at restaurants, on airplanes, at the beach and at satsang."

  • Create reusable disinfectant wipes

    • 3 cups distilled water
    • ¾ cup rubbing alcohol
    • 6 tsp dishwashing soap (adjust the amount to suit)
    • 10 drops lemon essential oil
    • 10 Washcloths
    • Glass jar

  • Make pot scrubbers from produce mesh bags

  • Reduce food waste by planning ahead, buying only what is necessary and storing the food you buy properly. The USDA estimates that 30 - 40% of food produced is wasted. Only taking the amount of food you can eat at buffets and taking home leftovers when eating out also reduces food waste.

    At Amma’s recent programs, a video of the process of helping farmers grow rice in an Indian village was shown. The video shows the amount of effort, time and water that goes into growing and harvesting just a single grain of rice.

  • Use reusable cutlery, dishware, cups, glasses and straws at home, work and at restaurants. Many travel options are available that can easily be kept in your bag or in your car

  • Decrease or eliminate meat consumption. Livestock farming uses larger amounts of land, 10 - 20% more water and grain than growing plants. The process also causes water pollution, deforestation and up to 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than plant agriculture


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