The most exciting part of Diwali is unwrapping gifts and playing who's got what' with your cousins. For starters say No to plastic bags' and plastic wrappers. Use cloth or paper bags. (Image: DC)
As boxes of Diwali sweets grace every household, and you waltz around with your friends and relatives spreading the joy of Diwali, the annual party spoiler ‘Pollution’ also makes a comeback with a vengeance. While the light of the Diwali diyas spread hope and happiness, the rising AQI (Air Quality Index) across the country has become a matter of grave concern. Worry not, we have you fully covered. Share food and happiness with your loved ones, but also go easy on Mother Earth. Here’s your easy guide to celebrating an eco-friendly Diwali.
Here is a little hack when it comes to crackers! The ‘Plantable Seed Crackers’ are consciously made to give you the feel of actual firecrackers. The only difference is that "bursting" is replaced with "sowing" these crackers. But if you are hell-bent on bursting crackers then buy "Green Crackers" developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – National Environ-mental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI). Compared with regular firecrackers, these green crackers emit 30% less pollutants. They also add less to the noise pollution during Diwali. Your regular firecrackers emit 160-170 decibels of sound. Green firecrackers are within 100-110 decibel sound levels.
The ‘E’ in eco-friendly stands for ‘Embracing the Earth’ by making righteous choices for the environment over self-indulgence and convenience. Go for mud or clay diyas over plastic ones. These humble earthen lamps not only illuminate your home but also tread lightly on the planet. They are made of organic materials. They are biodegradable and easily disposable. With a touch of creativity, you can even paint and adorn them, making each diya a piece of art that tells a story of tradition, eco-consciousness, and love for the Earth.
In the spirit of celebrating with nature, embrace organic produce and locally sourced ingredients to craft a culinary masterpiece. Ditch the plastic disposable plates and cutlery. You can give an eco-friendly spin to your table spread with biodegradable tableware – bamboo and jute mats, spoons crafted out of coconut shells, or plates from wheat husk. The straws, forks, and spoons made from avocado seeds are conversation starters! Arundhati Kumar, founder of Studio Beej, says, "We don’t just give products that spark joy but give products that help people actually start a conversation. Functionality over gifting is our prime motto regardless of the festive season." One of the most popular curations that they have is a bottle holder with a copper bottle, reusable coffee tumblers made of bamboo and a cutlery set which comes under the umbrella of ‘Reusables to Ditch Disposables’.
The most exciting part of Diwali is unwrapping gifts and playing ‘who’s got what’ with your cousins. For starters say ‘No to plastic bags’ and plastic wrappers. Use cloth or paper bags. You can even gift some cloth bags to your loved ones. Consider gifting potted plants, personalized seed packets, or sustainable products made from bamboo or jute. You could also gift LED bulbs, solar lamps, wicker baskets, cork coasters etc. These gifts not only express your love but also promote a greener lifestyle, inspiring others to follow suit. Diwali in the corporate world is an occasion of team building, celebrating cultural diversity and exchanging gifts.
Research shows that employees appreciate gifts that are more conscious and thoughtfully curated instead of typical merchandise. Shreya Kothari, co-founder of Verth says, "We have collaborated with one of the waste management companies where we do a plastic neutrality for every order that we get. The amount of carbon that's emitted throughout the entire process, we do an equal amount of plastic recycling."
The age-old method of adorning the entrance of your home and verandahs with intricate rangolis and colours is synonymous with Diwali. A conscious move to shift toward naturally made colours from natural ingredients like rice powder (white), turmeric (yellow), cloves/ cinnamon(brown), henna (green), etc. It is an interesting traditional Indian tapestry to tap into and revive the beauty of non-toxic homemade colours. You could also use ‘flower power’ to add a burst of colour and go green this Diwali. Sprinkle petals of orange marigolds, red roses, yellow and white daisies. They not only look pretty but also add fragrance and keep flies and mosquitoes away.
Diwali is a festival of lights. Most people spend thousands of rupees on buying different types of twinkling psychedelic fairy lights to decorate their houses and societies. This leads to a lot of electricity wastage. Try switching over to light-sensitive solar light strings and lamps this Diwali. They charge during the day in sunlight and automatically switch on when the sun sets to spread joy in the dark. No more ‘shocking’ electricity bills.
If you are thinking of refurbishing your old sofa upholstery or changing the curtains of your house ahead of the festive season, then skip the cheap synthetic curtains and heavy-duty cushion covers. Be a bit creative and try a sustainable Diwali décor. Sort out your old clothes and conveart them into cocktail napkins, cushion covers, ladle holders etc. If you want to splurge then go ahead with some chic desi hand-embroidered cushion covers, jute-mix upholstery, and light cotton curtains. It will not only add charm to your home décor, but you will also be promoting the labour of love of some talented artisan.
Sense & Sensibility
Amidst the cheerful cacophony of fireworks, explore the joy of noiseless celebrations. Focus on the warmth of togetherness rather than the noise in the sky. Engage in traditional games, storytelling, or even stargazing, allowing the simplicity of the moment to shine brighter than any firework.