My Eco-friendly Diwali: 6 ways to reduce waste this Diwali

Diwali is one of India’s largest festivals. It’s time we celebrated it responsibly and with minimal environmental consequence.


Deepavali, meaning a ‘series of light’, we say, is the triumph of good over evil and of right over wrong. Traditionally, this festival widely celebrated in India across communities, is a time of family bonding, conversations and thinking beyond oneself. Lamps are lit, sweets made, shared, and savoured, gifts exchanged and relationships nurtured.

However over the recent years, this auspicious day has also turned out to be a strain on living standards. As the celebrations ensue, we are coerced into shopping, spending and wasting more during this festive occasion. Air quality levels dwindle to dangerous numbers, vehicles are jam-packed on the road, plastic and food waste increased by mounds and strewn across the streets. Rather than goodness prevailing, there are signs of distress on the things that we value – people, animals and the environment.

If we stop to think about the far reaching consequences our actions bring on this day, we may be able to create some positive changes that will benefit every being and lead to brighter festival.

1. Use oil diyas instead of candles

Image Source: slodive.com

Image Source: slodive.com

Diyas can be re-used multiple times and are made from earth-friendly material. Try to avoid the painted ones that have chemical colours smeared over them.

Candles, on the other hand, are for one-time use, require energy in their creation, are petroleum-based, and release toxins during burning to affect the air quality. Some of the toxins are benzene, formaldehyde and lead which are harmful to human and environmental health.

2. Make your rangoli with flowers, natural colours, or rice flour

Image Source: www.akankhanewtown.com

Image Source: www.akankhanewtown.com

Kolams or rangoli was a way of sharing our food and life with insects and birds. Even today, in villages down south, the Kolam is made with either rice paste or dry rice flour and becomes a feast for ants and small birds.  If you have to include colours, try using turmeric, coffee powder, and kumkum for yellow, brown, and red. You can also use flowers such as chrysanthemum, roses, lotus, and some leaves to brighten it further. Not only is this eco-friendly, you can clear it the next day and put it into your compost bin directly as compared to a chemical-coloured rangoli.

3. When buying sweets re-use existing carboard boxes from home

Image Source: Flicker.com. Clicked by Arbindo

Image Source: Flickr.com. Clicked by Arbindo

A “kuch meetha ho jaye” feeling becomes overwhelming during the festive season. Sharing sweets and spending time with the neighbours is a common ritual of the day. While it is convenient to pick up good sweets from a neighbourhood store, spare a thought for the packaging that comes along with it. You can avoid this by either making simple sweets at home and distributing them or carrying available packaging and plastic packets from home.

4. Give a handmade gift

Image Source:  dulhaz-dulhanz.blogspot.com

Image Source:
dulhaz-dulhanz.blogspot.com

Enthusiastic about giving and receiving gifts? Choose gifts that are made from natural materials like a jute or cloth bag, cloth purse, a cotton kurta, or a saree. I bought a kid’s backpack completely handmade with cloth for my niece from The Green Bazaar last time. She loved it. You can also make gifts if you have the time for them – they are personalized and add a touch of love to the person it is given to.

5. Wrap your gifts in newspaper

Image Source: www.diyinspired.com

Image Source:
www.diyinspired.com

Make it trendy to pack your gifts in newspapers instead of shiny plastic wraps. These wraps combine plastic and metal, thus making it difficult to recycle. For children’s gifts, you can use the comic strips section of the newspaper to make it fun and interesting. Calendars with pictures can also be used.

6. Shop for your festive needs at your nearby local shop rather than the online store

Image source: www.slideshare.net

Image source: www.slideshare.net

My neighbour had once ordered for a cricket bat for her son over the internet. The bat arrived safely tucked in a cardboard box 5 times its size and stuffed with plastic bubble packaging. The next day, this ended up in the garbage truck. The same bat is available at our corner store but for a slightly higher price. But as consumers, we tend to evaluate only the cost that we pay at that instant and not the long-term environmental cost.

The plastic packaging will most probably end up in a landfill or get burned somewhere midway and will result in toxins being released into the air. This has an indirect effect on human health but we are unwilling to consider this during our shopping.

Some information from: http://nepis.epa.gov/Adobe/PDF/P1009BZL.pdf

Looking for tips on how to celebrate a greener Diwali this year? Check out our My Eco-friendly Diwali section for more such helpful articles.


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shyamala is a nature-enthusiast and is exploring anything that is close to it. Still drifting in the green universe with no particular destination in mind she finds solace in gardening, birding, conservation activities and spreading eco-literacy. She blogs at www.passionthatsgreen.com more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shyamala is a nature-enthusiast and is exploring anything that is close to it. Still drifting in the green universe with no particular destination in mind she finds solace in gardening, birding, conservation activities and spreading eco-literacy. She blogs at www.passionthatsgreen.com more

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  • Diwali is a time for celebration and rejoicing in India and that is the spirit that comes through during this festival.

  • AMZAD KHAN

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    10:59:05 not receive till today take immediate action AMZAD KHAN 09776484333

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  • Jenitha Joseph

    A little tweak to the way you celebrate Diwali can make it an eco-friendly one. So, this festive season, be mindful, respect the environment. Here are five ideas to guide you in your green mission.
    https://www.parentcircle.com/article/5-ways-to-celebrate-an-ecofriendly-diwali/