Getting produce is also less fuel consumptive because produce sellers visit all residential areas on a daily basis, so if your local vegetable or fruit person tends to carry good quality produce, then there is no need to drive to get them. Supermarkets only arrived in India after I arrived, so I have also been seeing this dynamic change. Supermarkets means lower prices and more variety, and day long availability, so the practice of getting produce from the shak bhaji wali is diminishing. At the same time, these supermarkets have opened up on every other corner, so they are a minimal distance away to travel to.
I don’t have a vehicle, so my primary mode of transportation is walking and rickshaws (buses are not available on my daily travel paths). Rickshaws in Ahmedabad are run on natural gas, so they are more friendly than petrol vehicles. When we were choosing where I would live, my primary concern was geographic location, so even rickshaw usage is minimal.
The dishwasher and laundry machine are two very large consumers of water. Dishwashers have yet to create a strong presence in the residential sector and laundry machines have only been making headway in the last 2 – 3 years. So thats another plus. While people use laundry machine, clothes dryers are still not heard of. Machine washed or hand washed, clothing is dried on a clothing line.
Also because I get a tiffin for my meals, I don’t actually create a lot of dirty dishes. The wonderful woman who makes my food does not need to use extra pots/pans to make food for one more person, so my water consumption with respect to dishwashing is also lower than before.
When I was living at the ashram, 1 bucket baths were the norm. Now its a mix of showers and bucket baths, but most definitely the limited capacity of my geyser serves as a friendly reminder to end a shower sooner rather than later, particularly in the winter.
One area where there is more water consumption is mopping. Mopping has to be done much more regularly in India due to the high level of dust.
In India, perhaps due to the high voltage, all electric sockets have switches to turn them on and off. So as long as you remember to turn off the switch when not in use, you don’t have to worry about stand by electric consumption that occurs in phone chargers, etc.
Clothing Recycling/ Reuse
Clothing should be reused, especially if it is gently used. It takes even less effort to have clothing reused in India. You can easily find people to give gently used clothing to. Usually families tend to give them to their hired help (people who clean, cook, drivers, etc). Also because getting clothing stitched is so common, clothing can be easily altered. My mom found a great tailor/ designer who created “new” saris that follow today’s trends from saris she has had for over 10 – 20 years. He uses dyes, embellishments, borders, etc to create beautiful new pieces. There is no need to buy new saris from stores as these old ones are reincarnated so well. I have found myself really enjoying the idea of reusing material to make new things. Worn out t-shirts, etc can always be torn up and used as mops and cloths to clean windows and dry dishes.