Frugality: Saving Resources


Frugality has helped a couple in the United States raise 13 children, own a 7-bedroom house, and 15-passenger van — completely debt free. But some say frugal living demands too many cutbacks on daily expenses, to the point of reducing the quality of life. Others say its benefits go beyond saving. I am of the opinion that frugality is not giving up fun, it is just making careful choices regarding purchases and saying NO to wastage of any kind. In a world where the culture of consumerism is flourishing, choosing a frugal lifestyle can sometimes mean living as an outcast. People may say you’re cheap or tight. My family and I have been living a frugal lifestyle, and we have realized that there are more benefits to frugality than what meets the eye. Frugality doesn’t just benefit people; it benefits our planet too. By making fewer purchases and consuming less, we positively impact the environment in a number of ways. Reusing and recycling old items means less trash in landfills, less energy used for production, packaging, and shipping. And buying a cheap, fuel-efficient used car (or ditching it altogether in favor of a bike or public transportation) helps reduce pollution and greenhouse gases. The bottom line: Being frugal means consuming fewer of the planet’s resources.

The frugal life is always the environmentally friendly life. Nearly every frugal strategy doubles as an environmental boon: driving less, rarely buying new things, not wasting food, using our heat and A/C sparingly – it’s all connected. Frugality is good for humanity too. It means being less wasteful with our already scarce resources. And when we make a commitment to wasting less in general, we’re reducing our carbon footprint and freeing up resources for others who might desperately need them.

Though frugal people are trying hard to make things they do have last longer, they don’t have to spend time shopping around for something new – like spending quality time with family, cultivating a new hobby, or simply relaxing. Frugality isn’t a tactic; it’s a mindset and a joyful lifestyle. Frugality isn’t a sacrifice; it’s a means to an end. Frugality is a positive principle to promote sustainable development.

Let’s look at food wastage. Food waste is a social crime. Food wasted is a food stolen from the hungry stomach. Food wastage is not only the wastage of food per say(disgrace to food too) but also wastage of all energy and other resources which have gone into producing it. I have seen people visiting restaurant and over-ordering which eventually they can’t finish and they leave it as waste. We should start ordering from small quantity and later depending on our appetite, we can order more, also we should not feel shy in getting the left-over packed & brought to home so that we can eat it later rather than wasting it.  The huge amount of food wasted at social gatherings contrasts sharply with the food shortages, often bordering on chronic starvation, faced by millions of poor.In most of the weddings, families are staging extravagant displays of food. The prodigious waste that follows is horrible. About one-fifth of the food served at weddings and social gatherings is discarded. It’s a criminal waste.For example, around 100,000 weddings and social events are held in India every day. Food wasted each day at weddings and family functions in Mumbai (India) alone would be enough to feed the city’s vast slum population.

Food wastage: Key facts and figures

  • The global volume of food wastage is estimated at 1.6 billion tons of “primary product equivalents.” Total food wastage for the edible part of this amounts to 1.3 billion tons.
  • Food wastage’s carbon footprint is estimated about 3.3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent of GHG released into the atmosphere per year.
  • The total amount of water used per year to produce food that is wasted is equivalent to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River, or three times the volume of Lake Geneva.
  • 4 billion hectares of land – 28 percent of the world’s agricultural area – is used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted.
  • Agriculture is responsible for a majority of threats to at-risk plant and animal species tracked by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • A low percentage of all food wastage is composted: much of it ends up in landfills and represents a large part of the municipal solid waste. Methane emissions from landfills represent one of the largest sources of GHG emissions from the waste sector.
  • Home composting can potentially divert up to 150 kg of food waste per household per year from local collection authorities.
  • Developing countries suffer more food losses during agricultural production, while in middle- and high-income regions, food waste at the retail and consumer level tends to be higher.
  • The direct economic consequences of food wastage (excluding fish and seafood) run to the tune of $750 billion annually.

Arushi Madan is a student of Electronic & Electrical Engineering of University of Birmingham, UK. She is an environmental activist and working on different climate issues and creating awareness to reduce environmental pollution. Besides she has been working as a Regional Ambassador of Tunza Eco- Generation.

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