If you’re wondering how to make this an eco-friendly Deepavali — or how to out-green your neighbour in the celebrations — here is a primer.
This is the Year of the Natural Fibre. From Co-optex to Brass Tacks, a number of clothing shops have something to make you think green.
Go for a sari made with natural fibre and vegetable dyes. Make sure the claim is authentic. RMKV has advertised an exclusive collection of “Natural” pattu saris. Others won’t be far behind. For an offbeat option, drape yourself in jute.
“Many big stores such as Nalli and Pothys have jute dress material and saris,” says M.S. Usha, who sells jute items.
Imagine stepping out, head to toe in jute — jute salwar kameez, matching jewellery, bag and chappals. Usha gets bulk orders from companies for jute backpacks, office folders and files.
When you go shopping, stop at Jute Emporium, Jute Store, Shopper’s Stop, Westside, Globus and Health & Glow for all kinds of jute take-aways.
Shop with an eco-approach, and cash in your wallet (credit card is plastic!). “We had an eco-mela a few months ago,” says Kaveri Lalchand of Madras Terrace House. “We had talks and screenings on plastic poisoning and restoring plastic wastelands.”
Along with that is her eco gift collection displayed in an appropriate, old-house ambience. “Start with a folded cloth bag with a clip that can be attached to your handbag. Unfold and the cloth bag becomes a carry bag. Empty the contents, fold and attach to your handbag for the next shopping expedition. (Refuse a plastic carry bag and you get a huge smile of gratitude from shopkeepers.) Eco-friendly products are no longer tacky, they’re funky and appealing. You don’t have to buy them as charity,” says Kaveri.
Recycle, and re-use
So choose from re-used tyre wallets, recycled plastic files and re-cycled cloth jewellery. Go for cotton or khadi garments, bed linen and napkins. Potter around for table mats and trays made from agro waste and banana fibre.
There are also soaps, shampoos and bath salts made with natural ingredients. For the puja, there are dhoop containers, woven grass baskets and bags. And how about a hand-woven hammock instead of a foam floor bed?
This Deepavali, light more earthen lamps and candles, and fewer electric bulbs. It’s a sight more beautiful. Smoke from firecrackers pollutes (with sulphur di-oxide, nitrogen oxides and heavy metals such as lead, cadmium). Firecrackers creating a loud noise are banned between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. How about community fireworks? Or, virtual ones on webdunia.com?
Find joy in sharing, not burning — firecrackers or fuel. Make lists, car pool and shop in a minimum number of trips. Is your vehicle hybrid? Electric? Their carbon emission is less. “Frugal” isn’t spelt kanjoos. It means “responsible” and “earth-friendly”.
Whatever you buy, check the labels for information on bleaches and dyes, and also for hyped claims.
For that Deepavali spread, watch out for artificial food colours. Some of them are toxic. Exchanging sweets? Fill a portion of the box with dry fruits. Gift pouches with seeds or decorative pots with plants. Send cards made of handmade paper.