Something Unusually Good Is Happening At Indiahikes. And You Can Be A Part Of It Too

Today I want to talk to you about something magical that is happening at Indiahikes. Before that I’d like you to see these pictures. Our Trek Leaders sent them over the past few weeks.

These are pictures of personal waste audits of our Trek Leaders and staff members.

One of our Trek Leaders even wrote a blogpost about it.

So what is happening here? 

At Indiahikes we talk a lot about following green practices. On treks we implore our trekkers to pick litter, to segregate waste, to avoid packaged foods and so on.

That’s all right for anyone to say. But the question that always plays on our mind is — do we follow these practices in our own personal lives? Are we really in a position to demand from trekkers a high order of green compliances?

So, at the beginning of this year, all of us at Indiahikes embarked on a journey that we call the Sustainability Champion. We wanted to set an example of what it truly meant to be sustainable.

Our Green Trails team rolled up their sleeves and brought the entire Indiahikes team together for this — all over the mountains, in our Dehradun office and Bengaluru office. We are talking about more than 100 team members!

And what has unfolded over the past three months is magical!

Every single person at the Indiahikes office composts their organic waste

In January, all of us in office pledged to compost our wet waste. Even though we have always composted our wet waste in the mountains and in office, we realised if it didn’t reach our homes, then we were not truly sustainable.

So all of us started composting our wet waste — it didn’t matter whether we were single, had 2 member families or 8 member families. We managed our own wet waste under our own roofs.

And if that’s not enough, our Green Trails team challenged each of us to find a friend who would start composting too. And guess what! All of us have found one other person who has started composting! To think of all the wet waste that’s being composted is such a gratifying feeling! 🙂

Composting Green Trails Indiahikes

We all segregate our waste 4 ways

Most of us already had a segregation of wet and dry waste for many years. But we realised that’s not enough.

So we started segregating our waste 4 ways — wet waste, soft plastic waste (we make bottle bricks or eco pillows), recyclable waste, paper and cardboard. We bring whatever hazardous and metal waste to office to dispose it properly.

This ensures we send almost nothing to the landfill.

And you know what, it’s extremely empowering to know exactly where your waste is going and what is happening to it. I go to sleep comfortably knowing that it isn’t rotting in a landfill.

All the ladies at Indiahikes are proud users of menstrual cups

I’m beaming as I write to you that all of us women at Indiahikes have switched to menstrual cups! Can you imagine an entire office! All ladies, irrespective of their age or marital status? Let it digest for a few min

It’s not the easiest journey. Some of us have taken many months to adjust to it. Some of us still do a mix of menstrual cups and cloth pads. But it’s a wonderful feeling to know that disposable sanitary napkins are out of our lives for good!

What’s better? We have been able to influence many of our friends to start using menstrual cups too! We hope women trekkers pick up this trend too!

All of us at Indiahikes have shot down our waste generation

This is no mean feat. To have nearly 100 people become conscious of their consumption, stop themselves from buying unnecessary things and actively audit their waste is a mountainous task. At home I’ve tried with one person and I know how difficult it is!

And yet, our team seems to have pulled it off! Our big fleet of Trek Leaders have all brought down their waste generation dramatically. And they are extremely conscious about how they live.

And it doesn’t end there.

“I was extremely happy to hear that the families at home got involved too – making the impact all the more stronger,” says Lakshmi Selvakumaran, our Green Trails head.

This has touched lives in the remotest regions too.

To add to that, our Trek Leaders and Trek Coordinators are huge influencers. So when they do and share such wonderful thoughts, many trekkers get inspired. Take a look at this message a trekker sent to our Trek Coordinator Suhas.

We never use single-use plastic

I get irked at the sheer thought of single use plastic. All of us at Indiahikes feel the same way. We carry our bags and boxes any time we go out shopping — groceries, meals, chips, anything. Some people might look at us funny when we take out our steel dabbas in ice cream shops, but we don’t mind. We know what’s more important. 

In fact, two team members at Indiahikes who recently got married had zero waste weddings. The effort required for that is beyond imagination! But they pulled it off!

The interesting thing is that there is always a sustainable alternative to these single-use plastics. You only have to look.

 

What can you do?

You may notice that all of these are small changes each of us have brought to our lives. None of them are audacious changes. They are all very much within our reach.

If the entire trekking community comes together to bring in these small changes within themselves, we can have a BIG positive impact on the environment.

If you need help to get started, then just drop in a comment on this post.

One of us from Indiahikes will get in touch with you!

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Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy

Swathi Chatrapathy is the Chief Editor at Indiahikes. She also runs a video series, Trek With Swathi. Before joining Indiahikes, she worked as a reporter and sub-editor at Deccan Chronicle. She holds a Masters in Digital Journalism and continues to contribute to publications such as Deccan Herald. Trekking, to her, is a sport that liberates that mind like nothing else can.Read Swathi's other articles. Watch Swathi's video series here.

62 thoughts on “Something Unusually Good Is Happening At Indiahikes. And You Can Be A Part Of It Too

  1. I think this is a wonderful and extremely important cause that Indiahikes is supporting! We should all be very respectful to our environment and strive to keep our waste material to the minimum. I am very proud to say that, thanks to my mother, we have been composting our wet waste for a few years and we even use the compost made in our garden! We separate dry, recyclables and I would love to get some tips to re-use them!

    1. Hello Nandini,

      Thank you! Yes, cannot agree more. We need more and more people to be respectful of the environment and do their part.

      It is great to know that your mom has been a great influence!

      You can drop an email to greentrails@indiahikes.com with the kind of waste you have. We shall share tips on how we re-use them. 🙂

      Best regards

  2. It’s really beautiful and inspiring to see the entire staff get so actively involved in this movement! The problem I face is that I stay with my parents and they order their grocery from stores like big basket. I want to know if there’s an alternative for this because most of the groceries ranging from rice to the dals to sugar come in plastic packaging.

    1. Hi Rajat,

      Thank you! We are very proud of it. 🙂

      For groceries, the best alternative I found is giving cloth bags to a nearby general store and getting them in bulk. I have been able to avoid 100% of my kitchen packaging waste through this simple step. It tends to be a bit of an inconvenience in the beginning. But over time, you will really find it work well.

      Give it a try?

      Best regards

  3. Good measures taken by the trek company, trek leaders and the trekkers. Had a trek with them to Roopkund in May 2015, and seen their practices. They do monitor informally, every trekker and give prices at the end of the trek. Keep up the good effort and spread this good thing to other trekkers too!

    1. Thank you Subramanian for your positive affirmation and wishes. We hope to create more impact with support from people like you. 🙂

  4. Hi Swathi,
    Indiahikes team has started a great initiative. Congratulations to the team. I am also doing some of the things like segregating waste, composting at home, using menstrual cup.
    I would like to know how you people have stopped using one time use plastic ? All our grocery items from store, comes packaged in single use plastic bags, even small shop owners keep groceries packed in plastic bags, then there are milk packets, everything eatable comes packaged in plastic bags. How to avoid that?

    1. Hi Shivangi,

      Thank you!

      Great to know that you do some of these things as well.

      For groceries, the best alternative I found is giving cloth bags to a nearby general store and getting them in bulk. I have been able to avoid 100% of my kitchen packaging waste through this simple step. It tends to be a bit of an inconvenience in the beginning. But over time, you will really find it work well.

      I can help you in suggesting alternatives for most things from my experience. Drop me an email to greentrails@indiahikes.com.

      Best regards

      1. Have to try this out. I had the same concern about reducing grocery waste. I applaud the awareness and impact your team is making that extends way beyond trekking and contributing towards a sustainable and clean environment.

  5. That’s a seriously good initiative you’ve started. I, personally am trying to reduce the waste I generate over the past 2 months. The waste is reducing, but not considerably.
    I know waste can be reduced by adopting a minimalistic approach to your needs. The problem is going minimalistic. I would love to get any suggestions to help me on this journey.

  6. Hi Swathi,

    This is truly one of the best posts on Indiahikes website. Your actions are highly commendable. Kudos to team IH!

    I am proud to admit that I recently switched to using menstrual cups too. Ever since, I have been telling women around me about it’s benefits in general and for environment in particular.

    I must also state that my husband and I are childfree by choice solely because of our concern towards the planet.

    I have also quit ordering food online and buying processed snacks from supermarkets.

    I would like more information on usage of mentrual cups during a trek. It would be great if you could write a post on the same.

    Also, how do we minimize the use of plastic in our day to day lives? Like pointed by someone on WhatsApp screenshot above, the shampoos, detergents and other FMCG come in plastic bottles. Certain food grains and oil are always packed in plastic bags. What do we do about this?

    Thank you.

    1. Thank you Vineetha!

      We all love menstrual cups and get very excited to hear from fellow users! I use menstrual cups on my treks. On treks, we have dry toilets. So at campsites, this is what i do. I carry warm drinking water, empty the cup in the toilet pit and clean it up with little bit of water. On long days, when I have to empty on the way, I dig a small pit, empty and clean and close the pit.

      Along with the cup, I use a cloth pad as an added protection. This has been a great help.

      Wow! I have very similar thoughts on children and glad to hear from someone practising it in real life. 🙂

      As for common plastics, I have been able to find non-packaged alternatives or sometimes recyclable alternatives.

      For eg: For groceries, the best alternative I found is giving cloth bags to a nearby general store and getting them in bulk. I have been able to avoid 100% of my kitchen packaging waste through this simple step. It tends to be a bit of an inconvenience in the beginning. But over time, you will really find it work well.

      I can help you in suggesting alternatives for most things from my experience. Drop me an email to greentrails@indiahikes.com.

      Best regards

  7. Hello,
    Hello,

    Really worth cultivating and absorbing these changes.
    Never thought of it till date – will cultivate these changes immediately and also spread message within group.
    Regards
    Sunil

  8. Kudos to the India hikes team for this great initiative! Personally I have been trying to reduce waste, especially avoiding single use plastics for some time now. But its difficult to completely avoid it as most of our food is packaged and most of the products such as toiletries are in various types of packaging too. Would love to know more about recycling and reducing waste.

  9. Hey Team India Hikes 🙂
    I would like to share my journey toward reducing waste :
    1. I always carry two cloth bags in my office bag so that i need not ask for poly bags/paper bags if i plan to buy something on my way.
    2. In my small kitchen garden (balcony), i try and put most of the organic waste and later use it as compost.
    3. I have stopped taking any kind of of transport while returning back from office, i walk instead fro 4kms and crib less about the Bangalore traffic.
    As its too hot to walk in the morning, i use public transport.
    4. Instead of using paper cups in office , i use my own water bottle and Porcelain cup for tea 🙂
    5. I have started believing in minimalism , ie using/buying minimum things thus avoid unnecessary manufacturing of stuffs.

    These are some of the ways i am giving my input to the environment 🙂
    -Saumya Jha

    1. Hello Saumya,

      Wow! Those are very good ways! Minimalism is the way we should all approach life 🙂

      Keep inspiring people around you.

      Best regards

  10. Hi Swathi!
    I feel proud to inform you all at Indiahikes that I have been following green habits for some years now. Still many people make fun of my “weird ” habit but nothing deterred me. After reading about initiatives of Indiahikes, I am now determined to try to inculcate green habits in more people around me.
    I feel the simpler we keep our lives the better it will be for our future generations. It is true that we can’t ignore development and progress of society that makes our lives more comfortable but we must constantly strive to find ways to balance development and preservation. By imbibing green habits we can all arrest mindless waste creation in the name of development!

    1. Hi Ninnie,

      I totally feel you. I am glad you are proud of what you are and never let this get you to stop what you are doing!

      I truly feel the same -by imbibing green habits we can all arrest mindless waste creation in the name of development!

      Best regards

  11. It’s our kind responsibility to save our environment by following such good practices which u have mentioned in ur article..I really appreciate u all for this initiative..

    as a naturelover, I also try my best to reduce such waste..but v need to make maximum people aware of this ..I can help ur team my best in doing such Noble work..

    1. Thank you Heena! Yes, we want to reach as many people as possible to take this up.

      Let us know how you can help us.

      Best regards

  12. I would love to take a part in this but not sure how I can reduce the wastes!If I think back, soap,shampoos and other cosmetics, chocolates wrappers, water bottles, cutleries , plastics due to online food ordering, Tickets, biscuits and other groceries etc

    1. Hello Hari,

      Yes, online ordering is not a great way to cut down on the waste. The first step would be to start reaching out to your local stores and buying in open to be able to start reducing waste significantly. But it is a journey that is worth it. It will be an inconvenience in the beginning but will fit within your way of life over time.

      Are you ready to take that challenge up?

      Best regards

  13. I’ve stopped eating chocolates, biscuits, chips and almost anything that comes in plastic. It is difficult to bring this habits into people at home and hence once in a while I end up creating some waste. I’ve quit chai at office to avoid paper cups. Being very conscious about the waste I generate and I’ve drastically reduced it. Also making a bottle brick with the waste that I still end up generating. Still I need some beginner tips!! And composting wet waste might take some time. More focused on reducing plastic. Also I would like to know more about the green trails fellowship program and what roles do GT fellows play in the mountains!!

  14. I think this is a great initiative and obviously it is not easy to do, but if people are willing to take some extra effort, I think this is doable. I do carry reusable bags for groceries but still end up creating a lot of waste since everything is prepackaged. Will try to put some more effort to reduce waste and be more conscious of the waste I am generating. hopefully will make good progress.

  15. Hey Swathi,

    First of , I want to let you know that I read 90% of the mails you send. They are all informative and worth the read.
    I want to let you know that I had that cleanliness in me, but Roopkund trek took it to another level. And IH is responsible for that. I make it a point , not to litter my surroundings and even try to bring this thought to other. Although , the topic discussed in this thread is very much needed. I follow Karthik(IH Trekleader) , he used to post the waste produced for a week. I did not realize its a movement that you have started. I am totally for it. I just need to figure out and give it a serious thought. If you have something defined around this, I would love to see it. I have forwarded this to my friends as well.

    Congratulations on starting this and continuing to do it.

    1. Hi Kowshik,

      Wow, I am extremely happy to know that we have had a positive impact on you.

      It is a 3 month project and will ease you into a lifestyle. But requires a lot of participation from your end.

      Please drop an email to greentrails@indiahikes.com. I shall send you the first step with details.

      Best regards

  16. Hi its really great that you people are doing this much for our planet and its a really great deal to be a part of this.I would really love to be a part of this movement that indiahikes has started.

    1. HI Khushbu,

      Great to see your interest!

      We are opening the sustainability champion program to everyone interested. You can take it too.

      Please drop an email to greentrails@indiahikes.com. I shall send you the first step with details.

      Best regards

  17. It’s good to see something sensible coming up connected to a global issue. I’ve been following the trek leaders like Karthik, Geet and others on instagram and they have been posting on the same for last few months. I’d be love to be a part of it. I’ve spoken few of my colleagues as well on this, we are excited to see how much difference we can make starting next week!

    1. Hi Sumanth,

      Yes, it is high time all of us moved towards a sustainable lifestyle. We are moving to a time when it wont be a choice anymore.

      We are opening the sustainability champion program to everyone interested. You can take it too.

      Please drop an email to greentrails@indiahikes.com. I shall send you the first step with details

      Best regards

  18. This is Awesome. Its very inspiring. I am also trying my best to reduce the non recyclable waste 😀
    At first it seems tough to remember carrying stuff with us, but soon it becomes part of our routine and givens immense satisfaction 🙂

  19. ‘ I always wondered why somebody didn’t do anything about that.Then I realized I was Somebody’

    We all in our life unknowingly deny our contributions to the climate change factor, thinking just one more plastic won’t do any big damage! Wrong thought.
    Just one more & today we are here fighting at the 11th hour.

    I have taken the oath & are commited to follow irrespective of my location. Being a part of the GT with IH have helped me to practice the ‘green-manners’ at all walks of life.

    Kudos to Swathi & IH Team ! Thanks for all the motivation,

    I would also request my fellow IH trekkers to participate & start making small(BIG) changes,

  20. It’s nice that such articles are being posted. Your efforts, as a company, towards conservation, recycling, etc. are quite appreciable. I would like to add that the frankness with which you discuss issues that are highly personal but important from the standpoint of sustainability,, like using menstrual caps is highly appreciable.

  21. This is indeed a remarkable achievement. It is also immensely inspiring.

    I too have started composting the wet waste I generate, since end- Feb this year. But I am not sure I am doing it the right way. Could you please advise.

    Thanks

  22. This is so important and happy that Indiahikes is not only conscious but also working towards a cleaner environment. I am looking forward a green experience on my first ever trip with Indiahikes in May19!

  23. The least we can do to save our environment so that our future generatuons should not be deprived of the beauty of nature which is depleting day by day… Onus is on us in whatever small contribution we may give…
    How can i get involve

  24. Extremely commendable. I too try to do this in my own way but im convinced its inadequate and haphazard. This post has motivated me and will find out more about this exercise.

  25. I have started using cloth bags for grocery shopping and carrying lunch box. However not very clear about composting wastes.
    Even when We segregate our wastes finally when it is collected by Municipality it is collected together in the Van.

  26. Thank you so much for this wonderful Article!

    its inspiring to see such amazing work at grass root levels.

    Keep sharing & inspiring us to change !

    thank you again 🙂

  27. Since I started trekking with IH, I have become conscious about personal waste generation. Started gathering the soft plastics and putting them into the used water bottles and making bricks out of it. Even created awareness among my colleagues and family members. Green trails is just amazing.

  28. Commendable post..Let’s take a step forward to save humanity from this plastic jungle expanding with a rapid pace…As an initiative I have started the replacement of plastic bags with more eco friendly jute bags for daily use..

  29. Kudos to ALL of you, this is WONDERFUL! Thank you for sharing this formally with your readers to inspire them. How about making this a series on your IG/FB?! I wrote an article about waste management by IH for a Singapore publication a few months ago (https://secondsguru.com/eco-travel-6-tips-from-a-fellow-green-trekker/) since this country is just starting its journey to reduce waste on a national level (2019 is the Year Of Zero Waste).

    Personal challenges and how I’m addressing them:
    (1) Groceries, home cleaning items, personal hygiene plastic packaging – avoid as much as possible by shopping in bulk shops even though they are far away. For Indian grains and staples, no such luck yet 🙁
    (2) Lots of fresh produce come packaged in plastic here because this country imports 90% of its food, so finding alternatives are still a challenge.
    (3) Food waste – I don’t have plants and having insects around is a personal peeve, but I leveraged an online group to find others who can use my food scraps in their compost.
    (4) Eating out – almost always carry a cup, cutlery and box. Whisk it out everywhere. Haven’t tried it for ice cream yet … the Corner House pic is an inspiration!
    (5) Ordering in – avoid this or just order a sub to minimize the gazillion plastic boxes which arrive for 1 dosa!
    (6) Menstrual cup – no courage yet 🙁

    You might want to check this person out on Instagram – @tabaogirl – a true Singapore zero waste journey co-traveller, maybe have a series like this at IH to inspire your followers?! 🙂

  30. A great initiative, Kudos to the entire team. it will have a great impact, I m sure.
    I would like to share some thoughts since we have been doing waste management at our community for some time:
    1) All fruit and vegetable waste : goes as food for cows to the nearby food shelter
    2) Coffee powder and tea powder waste : used directly as a manure to plants at home/park
    3) Dry leaves : Compost
    4) Meat waste : We segregate and keep it in a separate common compost pit , since it takes a long time to compost
    5) A common STP is installed to treat sewage water and the treated water is used for flush and watering plants

    Plastic waste :
    Plastic bags are banned in our state already ,so there is no choice but to carry bags
    Milk, oil and most groceries come in plastic packaging , we still have not started buying groceries in bulk , but we do segregate the plastic packaging and give them for recycling .
    Carry a water bottle / steel cup where ever we go and we try to avoid bottled water at cafes
    I personally started using shampoo / conditioner bars instead of bottled ones and started using bamboo brushes

    Sanitary waste :
    Still goes to the landfills , especially diapers and pads . some of us are shifting towards biodegradable pads , but we are still not courageous to use menstrual cups

    Biggest challenge :
    To handle the bottles that comes with cleaning products , toothpaste tubes etc . They are segregated but not sure how to handle them ?

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