Celebration Waste by ArwaMamaji
Life is a celebration. The more you celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. Whether it is a festival, birthday, wedding or reunion, we sure know what it takes to boost our spirit.
Not long ago there was a report in the papers about a high-profile wedding. A tune of 200 crores was spent and the wedding took place in the picturesque town of Auli, Uttarakhand, India. This wedding hosted by businessmen based in South Africa created headlines. Headlines for all the wrong reasons! The wedding must have been a fancy affair but it left a residue of 24,000 kilograms of waste. The small, angelic and pristine hill station had been converted into a big garbage dump. The pictures that were posted were startling and disheartening. The earth must have surely shed a tear while people at the wedding carelessly rejoiced.
We have become oblivious to the waste we produce in the course of celebrations. With the ease and accessibility of non-organic goods, people have become complacent consumers. How do we celebrate so that Mother Nature can also participate in our happiness? What measures can we take to reduce our carbon footprint in this world?
Here are few very easy tips to keep in mind, which can go a long way to reduce the pressure on the environment.
Ø Send invites online as text messages or as small videos. In an age where everything is a touch away, we continue to print cards. These paper cards are then put into a plastic sleeve. Invitation cards are never reused and end up in the trash. The plastic finds its way into one of the many landfills of the world.
Ø Gifting can create a whole layer of waste. Either request your guests not to bring gifts or suggest that they can give you online cash or credit. Another option is to support a fund and ask your guests to contribute to it as a gift to you. The materialistic gifts can be an organic plant and a gift registry can reduce wastage to a large extent.
Ø Use your money wisely. While spending on a celebration ask yourself
questions. What is this made from? What will happen after I use it? How long will it last?
Ø Use crockery and cutlery that can be reused. With easy access, plastic plates, spoons, forks, cups, and straws are used and then carelessly disposed.
Ø Use cloth napkins instead of flimsy paper napkins. These napkins can be easily washed and reused.
Ø Use local ingredients, which will reduce the pressure on the environment.
Ø Party favours can be thought through. Can this be useful and long-lasting? It should have a zero-waste theme.
Ø Decorations cause tons of waste. Consider upcycling jars, bottles, etc. as centerpieces. Using local flowers in wreaths and chalkboards for signage’s are easy and good solutions. If you decide to use recyclable material for your decorations, keep in mind that covering it in glitter will make it unrecyclable.
Ø Bunting, pinwheels and garlands made out of paper are great recyclable options. You can even make bunting and banners out of fabric so you can use them year after year. Also, try to make decorations that will work for multiple occasions rather than one specific theme.
Ø Have pitchers or a punch bowl of ice water with reusable cups and glasses available instead of plastic bottles.
Ø Choosing shared dishes made of local, seasonal food helps keep food waste to a minimum.
Ø Source food and catering services that are happy for you to bring your own containers and bags.
Ø Plan where your party waste will go. Compost pit, a pet, an orphanage, a friend or freeze it for later? Encourage your guests to take food home with them. The flowers can be converted into natural Holi colors or converted into agarbattis/ incense sticks
Ø No need for single-use wrapping paper that is literally ripped up and then discarded after one use. Wrap presents using a newspaper, scarf, handkerchief or cloth napkin. Not only does it look chic, but it also works as an added gift.
Ø Homemade gifts add that extra something. Things like candles and bath salts are easy to make and can be done in batches so you always have a gift on hand. Use glass containers and jars you already have and add a bow or ribbon from fabric scraps.
Ø Choose the correct time for the celebration. Events that happen at night use up a lot of electricity and precious fuel (diesel-run generators). While a cocktail/Sangeet event can’t be held during the day, your birthday, reunion, festival ceremonies, Mehendi, and wedding receptions can easily be held during the daytime. Use the outdoor location in good weather so that you do not need heaters or AC’s to keep the guests comfortable.
Celebrating our planet for its generous abundance is as important as celebrating an important occasion in our lives. Let’s learn to live in sync with our resources. Let’s be the change we want to see around the world. Consider how you can make a difference the next time you celebrate any event in your life.