1. Say ‘NO’ to Crackers
Well this one is a no brainer, which is why it has first place on this list! Crackers emit large amounts of noxious fumes which persist in the air days after they’ve been burst. Besides this they are very loud, often crossing the limits set by the Central Pollution Board, causing a good deal of discomfort to babies, seniors and pets. Not to mention how much of a fire hazard they are. If you miss the festive noisiness, we have a solution – play some foot tapping music!
2. Make Lighting Eco Friendly
The best option here is to go traditional – clay diyas are environment friendly and have an old world charm of their own! If you simply must have strings of fairy lights, consider reusing old ones rather than buying new. Also, opt for LED lights – they help save up to 80% power.
3. Reuse Decorations.
Take out last year’s decorations and set them up; when done, store them away carefully for next year. Refrain from buying paper and plastic decorations; instead make torans out of leaves. Garlands of flowers adorning your doorways look very pretty too! Another tip is to use colorful dupattas near windows and to drape heavy brocade saris over furniture for a grand, festive look.
4. Skip the Gift Wrap
If you have leftover gift wrap, then by all means, reuse them. Otherwise, try innovative methods like wrapping in newspaper or making your own gift bags out of recycled paper.
5. Reduce, Reuse & Recycle
It is customary to clean and renovate one’s home during Diwali. It’s easy to get caught up in festive fever and spend too much on a makeover, so plan carefully well before Diwali. Try to repair and reuse as much as possible and buy new things only if absolutely necessary. Give away things you no longer need to charity.
6. Have a ‘Green’ Rangoli
Of course, we’re not saying that you should restrict your Rangoli to just one color! Many organic brands sell eco friendly colors and even if you can’t find them, you can use powdered spices or rice as well. Don’t forget fresh flowers!
7. Have an Eco Friendly Party
No festival is complete without food, especially sharing it with friends and family! Skip the paper plates; this is the time to take out your fine crockery. If you have a large number of guests, opt for banana leaves; you don’t have to worry about a huge pile of used plates to dispose off! And try to make the sweets at home; you can save money and make them healthier. Also prepare only as much food as is required; wastage doesn’t help anyone.
8. Gift Sensibly
One big area of expense and wastage during Diwali is when it comes to gifting. Gifts that are bought without much forethought turn into clutter, which is eventually wastage. Take some time to choose gifts carefully – buy organic and fair trade as far as possible and try to go for ones that are battery free. This is a great opportunity to support local businesses and entrepreneurs too.
9. Go DIY with Cards
Now is the perfect time to pull out all your cardstock and glitter and other craft supplies and come up with some innovative designs. Nothing can beat the thought that goes behind a handmade card and grandparents in particular are sure to love their grandkids’ handiwork!
10. Shop Smart
Shopping itself is a huge expense in itself with fuel being one of the main culprits. Be smart by shopping together with your neighbors or friends – you’ll save on fuel costs and you might also get better deals when you buy things in bulk. And don’t forget to take along your own shopping bags!
Celebrating a festival with our families isn’t just a mode of enjoyment, but it is an essential part of passing on our customs and traditions to the next generation, ensuring that they remain in touch with their roots. But with the wide scale of pollution and wastage nowadays, it becomes imperative to keep the environment in mind during our celebrations. As the famous American anthropologist Margaret Mead says, “We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment”. Happy Diwali!