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Polar-bear-climate-change

Can the Earthshot Prize Save Us from Climate Change?

The Earthshot Prize - A Ray of Hope; Or is It?

In recent years, environmental awareness has taken a positive momentum. From companies pledging to go carbon-neutral to commoners practicing eco-lifestyles, it is safe to say that there’s hope. The Earthshot prize can have a significant impact on this optimism.

What is the Earthshot Prize?

The Royal Foundation’s Earthshot Prize is the most prestigious Environment award. This Nobel-like prize is an effort to inspire and fund the solutions for a better future.

The Earthshot Prize revolves around five ‘Earthshots’ – simple but ambitious goals such as,

1. Protect and Restore Nature
2. Clean Our Air
3. Revive Our Oceans
4. Build a Waste-free World
5. Fix Our Climate
which if achieved by 2030 will improve life for us all, for generations to come.”

In a conversation with Sir David Attenborough, Prince Williams says that they expect at least 50 solutions until 2030. These solutions will be significant in changing the current scenario.

A yearly award ceremony is expected to take place in different cities across the world from 2021 to 2030. Each year, only 5 Earthshot prizes will be awarded for finding solutions to great environmental problems. These could be to 5 people, teams, or collaborations.

With £1 million prize money as the prize money, the winner will also receive a global platform to showcase the solutions.

“Shortlisted nominees will also be given tailored support and opportunities to help scale their work, including being connected with an ecosystem of like-minded individuals and organizations.”

For now, the Royal Foundation is managing the Earthshot prize; but it is expected to be its own entity by 2021.

Final Thoughts

The Earthshot prize is a promising effort to influence the change we need today.

For a globally sustainable future, major solutions need to be popular. This way, they can be in action within the masses.

The very cornerstone of this movement is to negate pessimism while motivating optimism. And that’s pretty progressive.

recycled-plastic-tiles-by-Shayna-EcoUnified

Recycled Plastic Tiles – A Solution for Pollution

Shayna Ecounified: Paving Sustainable Pathways

“There will be more plastic in ocean than fish (by weight) by 2050”                                                   Ellen MacArthur Foundation

“Average human consumes credit card size (5 grams) of microplastics every week”                 – WWF

“91% plastic is not recycled and thus continues to exist for thousands of years”                        – National Geographic

“There will be more plastic in ocean than fish (by weight) by 2050”                         Ellen MacArthur Foundation

“Average human consumes credit card size (5 grams) of microplastics every week” – WWF

“91% plastic is not recycled and thus continues to exist for thousands of years” – National Geographic

How disturbing are these facts? Some of us are aware of the cost that the human choices impose on the environment, other life forms, and the Earth. The wonder material plastic has become one of the significant problems for our planet.

Invented in 1907, it has become an irreplaceable part of our lives. Due to its high utility in varied forms, shapes, and sizes, it is the disposal and recycling stage that becomes problematic. It’s a large component of the general litter and landfills. In 2015, the world discarded about 4600 million tons of plastic! Today, the number is of course higher.

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A seagull with a plastic wrapper in its mouth.

Plastic items block the drain and sewer lines. Also, animals on land and in the oceans, unfortunately, end up consuming them. Plastic is also found in the form of microplastics around the polar caps and the highest mountain peaks of the world.

Thus, many experts, entrepreneurs, and governments around the world are working independently as well as collectively to clean up the gigantic mess that humans generate. Among these, Shayna EcoUnified has come up with an innovative path to deal with the plastic problem.

Today’s article is brought to you by the folks at ulaunch, an entrepreneurship focused media cum social consulting platform seeking to address the challenges faced by society. 

Penned by Subhav Duggal, the following article introduces you to a unique sustainable solution for plastic recycling crafted by Shayna EcoUnified.

Shayna-ecounified-ulaunch-recycled-plastic-tiles
Tiles created from recycled plastic used in a play area for children.

Established in 2017 in Greater Noida by Paras and Sandeep, it primarily deals with manufacturing paver tiles and value-added products made from recycled plastics. These tiles can be used in offices, pavements and parking lots. They had built the idea from scratch, building up their expertise in plastic recycling and understanding the value chains. They wanted to offer a new product that can be made by recycling discarded plastics. The R&D required substantial resources but gave positive results in the durability of the products. 

The recycled-plastic tiles meet demanding conditions like heat and water resistance, high tensile strength-bearing loads of around 40 tons, anti-microbial properties, etc. They have even got the paver tiles patented. 

The organization procures segregated plastics from sellers, as not all plastics can undergo multiple cycles of recycling. The tiles have a life of more than 50 years and are completely safe for human use. The best part is that the tiles can be again recycled after their end of use to make new products like chairs, dustbins, etc.

recycled-plastic-tiles by-shayna-ecounified-ulaunch-ecopurple
The novel waste plastic composite tiles installed in a community park.

Despite the products having higher economic cost than the concrete paver tiles, the environmental benefits far surpass that of the latter thus making the recycled plastic tiles the better choice. This has led to a substantial market across both the private and public sectors. Awareness among conscious decision-makers also play a critical role. The combined efforts have led to the recycling of more than 420 tons of plastic since its inception, which is quite significant. Such are the results that even locals have sent plastics collected from their neighborhoods and offices. However, Shayna EcoUnified had to refuse from accepting as they require segregated plastics for further processing. This shows that many people want to make better life choices, but do not know the right way to realize them.

The story of these innovative recycled-plastic tiles does not end here. There’s more. Continue reading the article.

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Ecopurple-sharing-eco-creativity-promoting-sustainability
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Ecopurple-sharing-eco-creativity-promoting-sustainability

Wanna read more such green stories? Click here.

Sustainable-razors-disposable-razors

Best Sustainable Razors For Men and Women (2020)

It's Time to Green your Grooming Session with a Sustainable Razor

Does your shaving razor looks something like these ones? If yes, we have a problem.

I’m all for normalizing the stigma around body hair. But in the end, it all comes down to personal choice, right?  To shave or not to shave, that is the question! 

Well, I’m not going to discuss the benefits or the demerits of shaving, that’s not what I’m here for. What I do wanna discuss is the topic my title suggests – Sustainable Razors.

Wanna get straight to the point? Click here

But What does Sustainability has to do with Razors?

First of all, sustainability has to do with everything. And razors, too, are a part of it.

How Exactly?

Today if we compare a regular disposable razor, it consists of our beloved culprit – Plastic. Now I don’t want to get into explaining how bad plastic is. It’s common knowledge.

Disposable-razors

Let’s dissect this razor. The handle is often made with plastic, and rubber to maintain the grip. Then comes the plastic cartridge embedded with the metal blades.

Although the blades are recyclable, do we really detach them before discarding them? I never did. And I’m pretty sure you don’t do it either.

Also, how annoying is it when the hair is still clogged into the blades? While the cleaning factor is the biggest demerit in a disposable cartridge razor, it is one of the biggest advantage in a sustainable safety razor! 

Moreover, a disposable razor is unlikely to recycle. Even the blades cannot be recycled in this situation. This is because they’re embedded within the plastic cartridge. I cannot stress this point any further. By now you should realize that a basic shaving razor is not innocent. Disposables are becoming the new plastic straws!

Anything that is disposable, is wasteful. And a disposable razor is no exception. Millions contribute this waste to landfill each year. Let’s not be a part of this bandwagon.

The following is a list of some of the Best Sustainable Razors available for both men and women. Check them out and make that rightful switch.

PS, the list is in no particular order of preference.

1. Reusable Bamboo Razor for Women By 'The Woman's Company'

The Woman’s Company is an eco-conscious brand that showcases personal care products for women (Duh!!)

This sustainable razor is one of their eco products that is completely plastic-free. It consists of natural bamboo and stainless steel metal-head. And as a result, safe for the environment. A good companion for your low-waste living.

What to Expect?

  • The razor comes with a natural bamboo handle which is super light and provides an easy grip.
  • The metal head provides a safe fit for double-edged blades making it super-efficient as well.
  • The skin-protecting shield actually shields your skin from getting any cut. Thus, the razor shines in providing you with a safe, smooth, and pain-free experience.
  • TWC also provides a set of 10 free blades with the razor. Once a blade loses its sharpness, simply replace it with another.
  • You will also be provided with an in-depth user manual.

Blades are recyclable, so there’s no reason to be guilty while discarding them. Make sure you discard them with proper caution, you don’t want to harm an innocent waste collector. 

One of the benefits is that you can use this razor for not only your basic body hair but also for your bikini area. It’s that pain-free!

Trust me, once you’ll give it a try, you won’t turn back. You will ditch those disposable razors for good! 

Pros

  • Durable/ reusable design
  • Eco-friendly
  • Bacteria and rust-free
  • Plastic-free
  • Biodegradable (bamboo) and recyclable (blade)
  • Plastic-free packaging
  • 10 free blades
  • Relatively Cheap

Cons

  • You might need some time to get used to.  
  • Compared to the plastic razors, this one does not have a flexible head. 

Say no to disposables and say yes to reusables.

2. Bambaw's Eco-friendly Unisex Double Edge Safety Razor

Sustainable-razors-by-bambaw

Next on my list is yet another bamboo razor by the brand – Bambaw. Bambaw is one of the trusted brands from Europe, a seller of products that are harmless to earth, such as this razor.

Bambaw’s unisex razor aims to re-introduce you to that traditional plastic-free shaving. A shaving experience undermined by the disposables of today.

What to Expect?

  • All-natural lightweight bamboo handle with a handy grip.
  • A stainless steel metal head appropriate for a double edge blade.
  • Provides a pain-free, smooth, and safe shaving experience like the disposable ones. In fact, much better.
  • Inclusive of an in-depth user manual.

Here, too, you can replace the blade once it becomes blunt. Remember, discard the blades with the safety of others in mind. 

Coming back to the point, if you want to make your shaving experience irritation, hassle, and plastic-free, then this is it. This sustainable razor is confident to become your lifetime grooming bestie! 

And did I mention the plastic-free packaging?! 

Pros

  • Durable
  • Eco-friendly
  • plastic-free
  • biodegradable (bamboo), recyclable (blade)
  • Skin-safe
  • Plastic-free packaging

Cons

  • Quite expensive 
  • Provides only a single Astra blade.
  • You might need some time to get used to.  
  • Compared to the plastic razors, this one does not have a flexible head. 

Be part of a bigger movement by reducing your plastic consumption.

3. Bambaw's Metal Safety Razors

Sustainable-razor-by-Bambaw

Bambaw also has a metal razors collection. Metal being the raw material, it is possible to recycle them. 

What to Expect?

  • These unisex  metal safety razors are available in 3 colors. Currently in India, you can find only 2 colors – Black and Rose Gold.
  • Has a contemporary design that might interest you.
  • Equipped with the double edge settings, firm grip to handle, and a no-stress experience.
  • Smooth shaving feels. Perfectly safe to skin. 
  • Inclusive of an in-depth user manual.

Pros

  • Durable/ reusable design
  • Eco-friendly
  • Plastic-free razor
  • Recyclable 
  • Plastic-free  packaging

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  •  Provides only a single Astra blade
  • You might need some time to get used to. 
  •  Compared to the plastic razors, this one does not have a flexible head. 

Liked what you saw and read?  Then,

4. Unisex Butterfly Open Safety Razors by Zomchi

Sustainable-razors-by-Zomchi
Looking for a much stylish touch? Then check out this interestingly designed sustainable razor by Zomchi.

What to Expect?

  • A complete metal based handle and head.
  • Hassle-free to use, easy-grip, easy fit for double-edged blades. Blades are of course replaceable.

Twist the bottom of the handle and the metal head opens up (like the wings of a butterfly). Place the blade on the blade holder and twist it back to close the wings. Dramatic enough? Repeat the exact steps while replacing the blade.

  • Smooth experience ✔️
  • Pain-free ✔️
  • Skin-safe ✔️

With the customer first policy, every razor accompanies a set of 5 blades and a mini cleaning brush. A complete package!

PS, the mini brush might contradict the ‘plastic-free’ goal.

Pros

  • Durable/ reusable design
  • Eco-friendly
  • Plastic-free razor
  • Recyclable 
  • 5 extra blades

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  •  The cleaning brush might contain plastic. 
  • You might need some time to get used to.  
  • Compared to the plastic razors, this one does not have a flexible head. 
Zomchi promises to give you an ultimate shaving experience while helping you be a responsible earthling.

5. Almitra Sustainables' Reusable Double Edge Safety Razor

A believer in co-existence, this brand is championing sustainability like a charm. And this Bamboo razor is one of the testimonies to their promise.  

What to Expect?

  • This double edge safety razor is designed to give a comfortable shaving experience.
  • It is an ergonomic product providing an easy-grip bamboo handle.
  • Has a stainless steel metal-head making it convenient to recycle.
  • Gender-neutral.

Pros

  • Durable/ reusable design
  • Eco-friendly
  • Plastic-free
  • Biodegradable (bamboo) and recyclable (blades and metal head) 
  • Relatively cheap

Cons

  • You might need some time to get used to.  
  • Compared to the plastic razors, this one does not have a flexible head. 
  • No extra blades 

A sustainable razor for you, and a sustainable life for our planet!

Conclusion

  • All the razors mentioned above are great alternatives to disposable ones.
  • I also cannot ignore the fact that sustainable razors cost more than what we pay for a regular one. But you, too, should not forget that it is an investment for many years to come. Even a lifetime!  This is an investment you’ll fail to regret.
  • You will no longer need to buy a razor every other month, how about that? 
  • This small step of saying no to single-use will make a huge impact on the planet.
  • #sustainabilitymatter.
Temple-waste-recycled-into-natural-dye-by-adiv-pure-nature

Temple Waste Recycled into Natural Dyes

Fast Fashion Industries need to take notes on Natural Dyes

As an Indian, I am very well aware of how important religious ceremonies are to us. Be it any religion, Indians love to celebrate their devotion to god. And following this devotion, there comes the immense offering.
 
When it comes to seeking blessings from a deity, Indians will spare no efforts. From peace offering some cash into the charity box, to feeding the poor, we will do anything for Bhagwan ka Ashirwad! (God’s blessings).
 
However, among all such expressions of thanksgiving, floral offerings remain the authentic ritual. Visiting a Mandir (temple) and not offering flowers?
 
Thousands of people visit temples every day. The amount of flowers received is huge and so is the waste. This waste is either dumped, discarded into the rivers/seas, or composted (if someone’s wise enough).
 

So is there a solution to this? There is. Just stop littering! Devotion should not come at the cost of nature. 

However, India does have various communities that recycle temple waste. Let’s take a look at one such community that is making natural dyes out of the floral waste.

Natural Dyes By Adiv Pure Nature

Located in Andheri, Mumbai, Adiv Pure Nature is a group of thoughtful advocates of nature. The team led by Rupa Trivedi aims to popularize the use of natural dyes in textiles. This is to create a fashion chain that complements the circular economy.

Understanding the aftereffect of temple waste, Adiv gave birth to the ‘Temple Project’. The team says,
 
“The Temple Project aims to create a dye palette that is 100% based on recycled temple waste. And applying it in a scientific manner to achieve beautiful textiles with excellent fastness properties.”
 
Since 2008, Adiv Pure Nature is collecting floral waste from the famous Shri Siddhi Vinayak Temple of Mumbai. Vinod Mahadeshwar, a diligent worker at the temple collects about 150 kilograms of floral offering every week. The collection is then delivered to Rupa’s workshop at Andheri. The best part is, Siddhi Vinayak Temple is doing this for free. 
 

Did You Know?

Shri Siddhi Vinayak Temple is often visited by more than 30 thousand people each day. The number increases to 1 lakh on Tuesdays (Tuesday is specifically dedicated to Lord Ganesha). Imagine the volume of the offerings!

Natural Dyes - The Procedure

Once the floral waste reaches the workshop, the flowers are first dried. The team works with fresh and powdered flowers as well. 
 
For dyeing, the artisans first note the weight of the fabric. With reference to this weight, they determine the volume of rest of the ingredients.
 
The fabric is then boiled with calculated proportions of water and alum. Once boiled, the artisans sprinkle the petals over the fabric, fold it, and steam it. After this procedure, the fabric is twitched such that the petals fall off, washed, and dried. And just like that, the cloth is hand-dyed!
 

Adiv creates amazing natural dyes with a variety of ingredients. This include marigolds, roses, coconut husks, hibiscus, onions, pomegranate, tea, etc among others. The craftsmen then tailor the dyed fabric into beautiful scarves and other clothing items. 

What I Find Impressive is..

After making the dyes, Adiv further sends the floral waste for composting. The right disposal of this floral waste is necessary as they often contain pesticides. And if they’re discarded into rivers, the pesticides can pollute the water and further harm the ecosystems. Thus, the team does it’s best to ensure eco-conscious practices. 
 
Another impressive thing is that the artisans at Adiv are all self-taught, and not to forget, their products are handstitched. Moreover, most of the working staff comes from challenging backgrounds. Adiv has given them the opportunity to have a profession. Their skillset is being used for the right reasons. Thanks to their wise leader Rupa!
All in all, Rupa Trivedi’s efforts through Adiv Pure Nature is a way towards a greener and a cleaner future. Textile industries or the “fast fashion” industries need to take some serious notes from Adiv.
 
India also has other organizations who work with similar raw materials. There’s ‘Phool‘, found by Ankit Agarwal and Karan Rastogi, who create Florafoam – an eco-friendly thermocol! Phool also produce incense sticks and cones, vermicompost, and organic Gulaal. All this out India’s temple waste!
 
Smart entrepreneurs such as Rupa, Karan, and Ankit make sustainability sound so effortless. And we Indians while expressing devotion, must show simultaneous care towards nature as well. 
 
Responsible citizenship towards India and our planet must go hand in hand. 
Natural-eco-friendly-air-cooler-by-Ant-studio

Best Eco-friendly Air Cooler By Ant Studio

Ant Studio's Eco-friendly Air Cooler is an Eco-Innovative Brilliance

The history of Indians and pottery goes way back. It was the Indus Valley Civilization that led to the beginning of Indian pottery.

Our forefathers have been indulging in this form of craft although today, the market is dominated by other alternatives. Plasticware, glassware, are now considered to be much more convenient.

Having said that, there are still many households not only in the villages but also in the cities, who have kept the traditions alive. The technological advancement didn’t stop Indians from storing water in a Matka (earthen pot).

Despite having a refrigerator, Indians still prefer the Matka!

The Matkas have been in use for water storage since ancient times. It’s a well-known fact that they have natural cooling properties. 

A tradition similar to this was also practiced in the middle east. The knowledge that evaporating water cools the air dates back a long time, to the Ancient Egyptians. And Ant Studio’s eco-friendly air cooler stems exactly from this phenomenon.

Set in New Delhi, the founder – Monish Siripurapu, and his team is a group of intellectuals working in tune with Architecture, Nature, and Technology.

Ant Studio has designed multiple infrastructures using computational technologies. And, this eco air cooling installation was one such by-product. 

Monish’s team chose the technique of evaporative cooling, and the eco-friendly air cooler came into being. As the structural design was inspired by that of a beehive, they named it as, CoolAnt Beehive – Biomimetic Cooler and Air Purifier.

This Beehive with around 800 terracotta cones was constructed for the DEKI Electronics factory, Noida to combat the high temperatures of heat radiated by their generator set up.

What's Impressive is..

The installation makes use of sustainable pieces of equipment. The structure is designed using terracotta cones, locally available eco-friendly materials, reusable stainless steel, and utilizes recycled water. 

Terracotta is a clay-based earthenware. It’s made with natural clay and is thus a Green material. 

The Beehive is not only ecologically efficient but also economically convenient. It calls for low maintenance, makes use of the cheap and durable steel, thereby making it an affordable investment.

Ant Studio sources the cones from Dinesh Kumar, a local potter from the Uttam Nagar of West Delhi. The team gives Dinesh the design of the required size and shape. Dinesh then with his pottery, crafts the building blocks of the Beehive.  

The cherry on the cake is that since the installation is made using sustainable elements, it does not give out harmful emissions or plastic waste. Plus, the energy used by this eco-friendly air cooler is about 1/3rd of that used by a regular air conditioner.

How does this Eco-friendly Air Cooler Work?

The area around the installation consists of hot air coming from the Genset. When the recycled water from the factory is made to run down the cones, the hot air tends to evaporate that water.

Due to this evaporation, the temperature of the hot air passing through the cones drops. This happens because of the evaporative cooling principle.

Also, the cylindrical terracotta cones that it comprises of, allow maximum cooling effect due to the large surface area.

It was observed that the temperature of the hot air with 55-degrees Celsius, when passed through the installation dropped to 36-degrees celsius. Thus proving it’s effective functionality. 

Such a low-tech, eco-friendly air cooler is yet to be engineered for household purposes. 

The Studio says, “The installation can also be converted into a zero-energy prototype which would require manual pouring of water over the pots once or twice a day. This can be done in areas where there is shortage of power supply, but it is not an ideal solution.

For now, the installation is efficient for combating the heat stress around open spaces, like the heavy generators. 

The studio has built this CoolAnt Beehive at multiple places according to the requirements. 

 

With climate change taking momentum, eco-creative developments like these are the need of the hour. We need more green architects like Monish Siripurapu. We need engineers who believe technological advancement can complement global interest. And tackling climate change is a Global interest even though our leaders are ignorant about it. 

In an interview with Eco India, Monish said, 

“The whole idea is how can we enhance upon the methods that already existed and use the current ways to improve upon the systems that are there. We have a rich culture and heritage that talks about beautiful systems and methods that have been successfully implemented. We are not short of technology, we are not short of materials, we are not short of labor,  and the machines. So it’s only about the mindset.”

Isn’t Monish’s ideology to correlate our heritage and modern technology impressive?

Are you aware of such architects of sustainability? Comment down below. 

If you want to read about another such sustainable architectural firm, check out my blog.

Buy-sustainable-products-with-Brown-Living-India

Buy Sustainable Products with Brown Living

Shop Sustainable Products without Going on a Guilt Trip

Are you aware of Greenwashing?

To Greenwash someone is to fool them by claiming that a product/service is environmentally friendly. Brands make such bogus claims to attract customers looking for sustainable products.

Have you ever been Greenwashed yourself?

I know I have. But I have learned from my mistake, and just so that this doesn’t happen with you, I want to highlight a green community that promises to provide a range of trustworthy sustainable products. Since I have invested in them, I can vouch for their service 🙂   

Let’s get to know them.

Chaitsi Ahuja, the founder, or how she likes to call it – ‘Entrepreneur of Sustainability’, is an environmentalist at heart. She, along with the support of her peers, established Brown Living – an eco-friendly shopping website dedicated to sustainable products. Their objective is to support brands and small businesses who design products pertaining to a circular economy.

What’s in store for you?

From clothing to bathroom essentials, hair care, kitchen essentials, home decor, etc, the store provides a myriad range of products. The plus point is, all of these are crafted in such a way that they support the health of our environment. 

Brown Living not only provides sustainable choices but also the ones that are vegan, organic, and of course eco-friendly. You can shop guilt-free!

What I find impressive is...

The plastic-free packaging! Isn’t it a bummer when you order an eco-product only to find it in a bubble wrap, and the packaging sealed with a plastic tape?

For years, packaging and the use of plastic have gone hand in hand. We all have witnessed and performed this practice. And this is something that deserves a better alternative. 

Understanding this issue and to stay in tune with the promise of plastic-free packaging, Brown Living says,

“We require that all shipments to Brown Living and to its customers to come 100% Plastic-Free (that includes bio-based or compostable plastics as well).”

They even use water-activated paper tapes and plant-based glue to seal the overall package. Hence, plastic-free.

Brown Living’s work ethic is in alignment with the UN’s Goals for Sustainable Development while supporting afforestation, slow and mindful living, fair trade and ethical sourcing, and more green ethics. 

The Brown Lens

With an intend to avoid greenwashing, the team studies the framework and application of the sustainable products they feature. Before showcasing a particular product, the Brown Lens ethic is used to determine how it’s made, the source of materials, the environmental impact, and the functionality.

Thus, if you wish to save yourself from getting greenwashed, Brown Living is here for you!

Conclusion

Brown living is a safe place for you to pin your faith and make a green investment.

Here’s an easy tip to save yourself from getting Greenwashed:

Check for legitimacy, certifications. Look for testimonials, an elite media coverage, multiple reviews. This will help you to better understand the product and the brand manufacturing it. Don’t fall for the description as soon as you read it.

Something we as consumers should take care of:

No matter how much a brand or a community extends a contribution in living green, we as consumers, too, should take responsibility. Even if it’s a sustainable product, ask yourself a question – Do I really need it? Shop for necessity rather than for luxury.

Be mindful. Be conscious. 

 

Comment down below and tell me if you are aware of any such green community 🙂

Sustainable-menstrual-and-eco-friendly-options

Sustainable Menstruation and Eco-friendly Options

A Beginner's Guide to Sustainable Menstruation

What pops up in your mind when you hear or read plastic pollution? Chances are a polythene bag or a plastic bottle. Anything else? Maybe plastic wrappers, straws, and cutlery. But did you picture menstrual waste? I doubt it.

Menstrual waste is an insidious landfill contributor. This is because most Indian women use regular sanitary napkins which contain 90% plastic. And thus, these pads take 500 to 800 years to decompose. Needless to say, we need to encourage sustainable menstruation.

Sadly, we Indians are yet to normalize periods and lower the stigma around it, let alone discuss sustainable menstruation.

But, is Menstrual Waste a big deal?

To know the answer, let’s dig a little deeper by understanding the following math –
 
According to a study by Menstrual Health Alliance India, out of the 336 Million menstruating women, only 36% (121 Million) use sanitary napkins.
Assuming that a woman uses 8 pads per period cycle,
121 Million x 8 = 1 Billion (approx.) pads per month = 12 Billion pads per year!
 
But does a common city-dwelling woman only use 8 pads? If I was to speak for myself, 8 sanitary napkins are not enough. Plus, an average woman uses around 10,000 pads in her lifetime. These statistics need our attention. 

The issue gets even more worrying when the waste is not handled with proper measures. You may or may not be using an eco-friendly napkin, but the one you do use, do you discard it the right way? Or do you simply roll it in a newspaper/ pad cover and throw it along with the household waste?

The right way to discard a sanitary napkin is to not merge it with the regular household waste. Try using a separate paper bag. This eases the job of waste pickers when they segregate the trash we discard. And, also prevent them and scavenging animals from getting exposed to diseases that might be lingering on the menstrual bloodThe waste pads are often sent for incineration along with other bio-medical waste. 
 
Of course, when you are in a public washroom, it may not be possible to discard the right way. But, we should do the needful whenever we can.

Now I know that the extent of menstrual waste is lower as compared to other single-use plastics. However, the monthly disposal of 1 billion non-biodegradable pads makes it a BIG DEAL.

So the question arises - Is Sustainable Menstruation Possible?

We can make our periods sustainable if we decide to make a responsible choice. The non-compostable, non-biodegradable pads are popular because of their cheap and easy availability. The cost of production is less which facilitates mass generation. But we need to see beyond them. It’s time we choose quality over quantity and support the circular model of the economy.

If you make an effort to research, you will find that India has a bunch of thoughtful, learned groups of communities. The ones that produce eco products and promote sustainable menstruation. Today, I want to highlight one such community – Sparkle. 

Being a woman myself, I can understand how rewarding it feels to have a comfortable period. And it’s a fact that the “comfort” is more or less, due to the pad we use. Which is why a sudden switch to a new brand seems doubtful. 
 
And when talking about sustainable menstruation, cloth pads or menstrual cups are the perfect choices. They compliment the zero-waste policy.
sustainable-menstruation-cloth-pads-menstrual-cups
But, if you’re a beginner (like I am), and are unsure of cloth pads or menstrual cups, an investment in biodegradable pads will be a good choice.
 
Found by Chirag Virani and his wife Hetal, Sparkle is a conscious brand producing biodegradable pads. Unlike the conventional plastic infused pads, Sparkle creates pads out of agro-waste. The raw materials they use are Bamboo and Banana fibers and use bioplastics made with Corn starch
Eco-friendly-pads-made-with-bamboo-banana-fibers-corn-starch-bioplastic
These ingredients are top-notch efficient as,
✔️ Bamboo fiber is anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic which means no allergies, no irritation.
 
✔️Banana fiber acts as a super absorbent and helps in arresting the menstrual fluid.
 
(After harvesting, farmers tend to burn the banana plant stems. You can imagine the pollution. Thus, their use in pads not only benefits the environment and women but also provides extra income to the farmers)
 
✔️The corn starch bioplastic, on the other hand, helps in avoiding leakage.
This eco-creativity is significant because these pads degrade in 140 days! So to answer the question, yes, Sustainable Menstruation is possible.
Sparkle’s effort in maintaining a circular economy is, without a doubt, praiseworthy. What makes them even more exceptional is their humanitarian side.

What impressed me - Buy One, Give One

It’s no secret that Indians still hold certain myths and stereotypes when it comes to menstruation. There’s also a huge number of females who have to compromise their basic needs just because of periods. It is clear that such problems exist due to a shortage of awareness.

About 23 million of girls in India drop out of school once they reach puberty. Some choose to take leave during periods. This is due to the unavailability of sanitary requirements. It goes without saying that the age-old menstrual stigma also encourages this move.

With an aim to do something about this issue, Sparkle introduced the initiative – Buy One, Give One.

Under the initiative, with each sale, the team donates pads to underprivileged girls and women. Sparkle works in collaboration with NGOs. They carry out workshops to educate rural women about menstrual hygiene, sustainable menstruation and distribute the necessary supplements. Staying true to their promise for human welfare, Sparkle has also donated around 1,00,000 sanitary napkins to the migrant workers during this pandemic

Conclusion

  • Switching to a different brand from the regular one may seem stressful. But once you give it a try, you will realize that it is easy.
  • The fact that sanitary requirements can disrupt our ecosystems should bother us; and, we must consider menstrual waste as a major dilemma.
  • Discard your sanitary waste with right precautions. 

A huge shout out to similar brands such as Saathi, Carmesi, Heyday, Purganics, The Woman’s Company, etc. that are creating eco-friendly options for us. 

Let’s choose what is good for both, ourselves and our environment.

how-to-live-a-sustainable-lifestyle-

How to Live a Sustainable Lifestyle

What do You Understand by the Word – Sustainability? Or a Sustainable Lifestyle?

For me, these terms define 2 things:

  1. To practice measures that are earth-friendly and
  2. to make use of long-lasting products that have the least environmental impact. 

Today, most of us have become educated enough to understand the human effect on our planet. Our current lifestyle and the source of economy is more linear than circular.

To put it in simple words, our actions are harming the environment. We are aware of the problems and also the solutions, but we lack the urge to do something about it.

Having said that, breaking a habit and adopting a new way of life is not easy. You need to commit. You need to understand the importance of why should you do it. If you care for the resources and expect them to sustain, these are enough reasons to take action. The fact that you are reading this article, says a lot in itself.
 

If you wish to contribute to make our world a better place to live in, here’s what you need to do: Adopt an ethically Sustainable Lifestyle.

There are plenty of ways to make green efforts for the betterment of our planet. I want to discuss just them. And to provide you a genuine set of methods, I asked a few of my friends to help me out. I asked them about their sustainable practices, and the following is a compilation of their responses.

You may find some suggestions basic, while some may be extreme. Try to incorporate the ones you can. If you find something repeated, then maybe it is important and worth considering.

Response #1:

“Adopting a sustainable lifestyle, I guess is a much-needed solution today. The execution is not easy though; we cannot start big. We have to start small from the bottom and work ourselves up. So for the problem at hand, this start should begin with you. And to do so, you need to feel the urge, the importance of it. Then, you may plan out how to make your household earth-friendly.
 
You can start by managing waste. Here’s how you can maintain a sustainable workflow:
 
  • Do not litter (basic!)
  • discard waste the right way by segregating garbage into dry and wet wastes,
  • discard the sanitary waste separately in a paper bag,
  • limit the use of non-biodegradable, use-and-throw products/practices, and
  • promote and educate others.
Following the above simple guidelines, one can achieve a green routine. And, if every citizen is responsible enough, a sustainable lifestyle Take one step at a time.”
 

Response #2:

“Instead of falling for the brands who produce fast fashion, try to stitch your clothes with the help of a tailor. This can help curb the pollution caused by textile waste – a major contributor to landfills.

Fast fashion promotes the use of cheap fabric that does not last long, and thus creates more fabric waste. A lot of freshwaters are also polluted due to textile treatments and dyeing. Moreover, most of the time, the craftsmen work in unethical environments and do not get their due. While these are only a few factors influencing textile waste, there are ways in which we can tackle it.

Start by making small changes. Contribute towards a circular economy, and ultimately to sustainability.

Learn the advantages you get when you choose to stitch your clothes,
 
  •  You select the fabric of your choice – which is of good quality, durable, and will last for years and years to come.
  •  You know the background of your local tailor which will assure you of the ethical workplace.
  •  You can customize your clothes the way you want. The clothes we buy most of the time have some or the other issue in the fitting. Here, you can get the perfect fit.
  •  You get a variety of options in the patterns and designs of your choice. Think about the various possible outcomes you can have!

The fashion industry is the 2nd most polluting field. We can control this waste by opting for stitched clothes and avoiding fast fashion. Your small effort in practicing a sustainable lifestyle will be of great help.”

Response #3:

"1. Veganism

Animal-based products account for about 60% of Agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. So we can prevent climate change by going vegan which in turn also contributes to animal welfare. Thus, try to follow veganism and vegan diets as much as possible.

2. Waste and Composting

  • Manage your in-house biodegradable scraps by creating a mini compost. You can also grow your vegetables or herbs on a small scale in your apartment if possible. Buy local produce as much as you can. By reducing the use of processed and packaged foods, you can have a sustainable lifestyle. And even if you happen to buy them, throw the trash mindfully in recycling/waste bins.
  • Practice waste segregation. Ensure proper disposal of sanitary waste and try switching to biodegradable sanitary napkins or menstrual cups. Regular pads contain plastic which takes around 500-800 years to decompose. Whereas, compostable pads take around 5-6 months. 

3. Prevention

Use Public transport when you can. Try to live a minimalistic lifestyle by buying and using only what is needed. Recycle or donate extras to charity.

4. Clothing Waste

About 70% of clothing waste ends up in the landfill. So buy limited, necessary clothing, and donate what you don’t wear to charity or people who can repurpose it.

Craft best-out-of-waste. Turn your old garments into aprons, cloth wipes, scrunchies, etc. Or, use the single-use plastic bottles for mini plantations. The famous ‘5 min Crafts’ handle on Instagram will show you amazing hacks.

These are 5 of the many ways to practice sustainability. Start small. You need to commit and not make excuses. Earth is ours to protect.”
 

Response #4:

“’Explain in brief about Pollution’ to ‘Use of green Technology in Chemical Industry’ in my undergraduate days, the education system made sure to have one environmental subject. This is to make students aware and to educate on how to deal with the problems related. But has it served the purpose? Or do we take the subject for granted, and answer “EVS hai re, woh toh aata hi hai!” (It’s environmental studies! It’s easy). We do, don’t we?
 
This proves that our academic assignments do not drive us to work for nature. And unless one feels the ‘need’ to do so, he/she will most probably not contribute. This may be because our education system has always kept EVS a secondary subject when it deserves to be mainstream education.
 
It’s high time we realize the upcoming crisis and begin to work on an individual level. We should not care about the certificates or tax exemptions from social activities. Let us do our part, not for the sake of it, but because it needs to be done!”

My personal advice:

My friends have pointed out some great ways in guiding you to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. However, only learning and educating others is not enough. You need to present yourself as an example so that you can inspire your peers the right way and not be a hypocrite.

Show your concerns. Use your resources to promote your beliefs, and join hands in reducing the human impact.
 
Our environment, the natural resources, deserve better. Take a step in making that happen.

Let me know if this helped you. 

Also, comment down below how you practice sustainability. 

sustainable-fashion-brands

10 Indian Sustainable Fashion Brands

Sustainable Fashion - A New Trend for the Future Nay, Today!

Textile-industry-sustainable-fashion

Did you know that the level of CO2 emitted by textile industries is almost equal to that released by automobile industries? 

With changing lifestyles, and seasons, we often find ourselves within new fashion trends. We enjoy incorporating the latest trends into our style statement, because why not
 
But, what do you do when the outfits are not trendy anymore, or more naturally when you grow out of them? In Desi families, clothes usually get passed on to our younger siblings, which is a good option. Unfortunately, this is not always the case as most of the fabric waste often gets trashed. Fashion industries themselves contribute a lot to this pollution. Which is why today we are in dire need of sustainable fashion choices.

With fast fashion trends, sustainable clothing (slow fashion) is yet to gain popularity. However, India does have brands that offer sustainability in fashion. And to your aid, Ecopurple has curated a list of a few of the many brands crafting green fashion. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Please note that the following list is in no particular order of preference; the idea is to promote and acknowledge their work.

This women’s fashion brand from New Delhi, found by Mahima Gujral, is on its way to help pave the way for green clothing.

Sui crafts conscious apparels and accessories, such the environmental impact is low. How?
 
  • They prefer working with durable and anti-bacterial fabrics such as hemp. Use Organic cotton that is GOTS certified, and other sustainable materials.
 
  • Sui uses herbal dyes to pigment their clothing; and recycles the wastewater in the process.
  • The team makes use of recycled packaging and upcycles the leftover fabric waste as well.
  • Following a sustainable work ethic, SUI also partners with the NGO – Women Weave. The women in this NGO contribute to the weaving of handspun home fabrics. They practice conscious activities that need less to no electricity. Thus, save energy.

The brainchild of Kriti Tula – Doodlage is a recognized eco-fashion house set in New Delhi. The brand creates fashion outfits and accessories by recycling and upcycling fabric trash. The toxic after-effects of the fashion industry led to the foundation of Doodlage.

  • Doodlage collects surplus of defective or stained fabric scraps from textile manufacturers. They even collect the leftover apparel scraps from the garment factories.
  • From the fabric waste of their own, they create wallets; laptop bags; accessories; and notebooks.
  • Ditching the plastic, they recycle the fabric waste into paper for their packagings.
Needless to say, Doodlage is doing its best to achieve zero waste production. And by all the efforts that they’re making, the team is bound to succeed.Moreover, Doodlage also presented their collection in the Lakme fashion week of 2019
 
You know they’re good when even Lakme supports them.

Vegan gang, this one’s for you! Based in Goa, No Nasties has been in the business since 2011, creating outfits for men, women, and kids. They design outfits made out of fair trade, organic, and vegan raw materials.

GOTS ✔️ 
Peta ✔️ 
Fair Trade ✔️ 
Impressive right? But wait, there’s more. To add to their green efforts, No Nasties offers plastic-free packaging. The team makes use of drawstring bags and recycled cardboard boxes instead. The effort doesn’t end here. With the “Buy One – Get Tree” program, No Nasties has been planting trees to negate their carbon emissions. You make a purchase and the team plants a tree, as simple as that! Thus, it’s safe to say that No Nasties is one cohesive sustainable fashion brand.

Renge is a sustainable fashion brand that offers beautiful clothing options for women. Found by Sheena Uppal, they create conscious apparels keeping the fashion quotient intact.

sustainable-fashion-brand-Renge

What makes Renge an ethical brand?

  • They use a surplus of fabrics from factories that follow strict social and environmental standards.
  • The artisans dye fabrics in Creative Dyeing & Printing, which is Oeko-Tex certified.
  • The team works in tune with Hemla Embroidery, which is Sedex certified.
  • Both factories are within a 3km radius, this reduces carbon emission due to logistics.
  • Also, a part of their factory runs on solar energy!

While creating sustainable fashion, Renge also extends support for other critical issues. Learn more by clicking here.

Basiclly is yet another option to make a sustainable fashion choice for women. Their mantra? ‘Comfort, Ease and Familiarity’ while practicing Fair Trade.
  • Located in Noida, Basiclly is a fellow supporter of slow fashion. The brand crafts livable clothing to make them durable and long-lasting.
  • The team makes use of 100% organic fabrics with reusing and upcycling the fabric scraps. This way, they avoid the use of synthetic materials.
  • Basiclly makes sure to have their fabric manufactures and the production factories close. Thus, minimizing the environmental impact therein.

Sparrow was born with an aim to provide sustainable clothing at affordable prices. The team believes and contributes to a circular model of fashion.

Craftsmen at Sparrow stitch outfits using breathable fabrics sourced from ethical resources. From designing sustainable clothing to plastic-free packaging, deliberate conscious efforts are being made.
 
To bridge the gap between consumers and sustainability, we strive to bring you ethical garments in affordable prices. So that your online shopping takes a conscious step towards the environment.”

This team led by Uma Prajapati works with the traditional technique of Handlooms. Upasana takes absolute pride in crafting fabrics through this concept that helps save electricity

  • As opposed to the artificial dyes, the team works with natural ones. Such as, Natural Indigo, native minerals, and herbs like Sandalwood and Tulsi.
  • To make the garments safe to the skin, Upasana infuses the same herbs with organic cotton. The medicinal properties of these herbs help provide a sense of healing to the wearer.

“Our mission is to create conscious sustainable fashion where we are taking care of our environmental cost and not passing it on to the future.”

Upasana’s work is here for you to choose a sustainable fashion alternative.

Belonging to the slow fashion tribe, B Label, powered by Boheco, takes a green route to fashion. Their star fabric? Hemp.
 
This sustainable fashion brand spuns Hemp into a variety of quality outfits. Why Hemp? Because,
  1. It is Carbon negative
  2. It repels UV rays
  3. It resists mold and mildew
  4. Is one of the strongest fabrics
  5. Hemp is Anti-bacterial
  6. It can grow with less water, etc

What more reasons do we need? B Label is one to pin our faith for a responsible fashion brand.

Nicobar, too, belongs to the slow fashion bandwagon. Their philosophy is to make products that are: long lasting, not trend-driven, inspired by natural materials, and influenced by the culture we grew up in.
The above collage is only a gist of what Nicobar has to offer.
 
Apart from their products, the most exciting one is their option for customers to Gift Trees. Nicobar has partnered with the “Grow Trees Foundation.” With this, a customer can choose to plant a tree in the name of his/her gift recipient. They plant the trees in the Sundarbans of West Bengal to protect the habitat of our Royal Bengal Tiger. 
 
Thanks to Nicobar, now I know what to gift my loved ones!

Rimagined is an ethical brand from Bengaluru producing sustainable fashion and upcycled products. They manufacture products right from sarees to furniture. Understanding the increasing garbage crisis, Shailaja Rangarajan led to the establishment of Rimagined.

  • The team works with both pre and post-consumer waste.
  • They craft their sarees from the pre-consumer cotton yarn waste. This is the leftover yarn during and after the weaving. They weave this yarn in the traditional Charkhas and then dye it with beautiful colors.
  • Rimagined also works with denim, wood, glass and rubber waste. They’re upcycled into furniture, bedsheets, decors, and other accessories.

Their aim is to divert waste from the landfills into a sustainable and valuable object of use. And they achieve this by working hand in hand with handloom weavers and tribal artisans.

CONCLUSION

  • These are a few of the many brands who are working to maintain a circular economy.
  • Fashion waste is mainstream pollution. With a growing maturity and awareness, one has to consider ways in which he/she can limit their impact. We need to control our unnecessary contribution to the landfills.
  • Yet, if you happen to buy something that belongs to fast fashion, make sure you find a way to repurpose. One sustainable action goes a long way.

YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS

According to a report by the Financial Express,
 
  • It can take 2,700 litres of water to produce the cotton needed to make a single T-Shirt. As per World Resources Institute, 5.9 trillion litres of water are used each year for fabric dyeing alone.
  • Around 20% of industrial water pollution in the world comes from textiles. Also, about 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used to turn raw materials into textile.
  • As per another report, about one garbage truck of textiles is either burnt or landfilled. This happens about every second!
sandhan-valley-trekking-sahyadri-maharashtra

A Guide to Conscious Trekking

Learn How to be a Responsible Trekker

Since 2019, I have grown a huge interest in trekking. If you too are a fellow trekking enthusiast, high-five! But if you are not into treks, I strongly recommend you give it a try.

Taramati-Harishchandragad-sahyadri-maharashtra-trekking

To trek is to explore nature in a much more lively manner. And the best season to do that is monsoon. Be it in the Sahyadris, or the Himalayas, the luscious green meadows, the generous meet and greets with waterfalls, the sweet smell of mud wafting around after a slight drizzle of rain, and the beautiful scenery observed from the top of mountains, fill the chest of pleasures with tranquility. To be honest, any season is a trekking season!

However, many a time, this pleasureful rendezvous with nature doesn’t feel special when you happen to come across..

With trekking gaining popularity, an increasing number of people are trailing within the natural hot spots. And there is absolutely nothing wrong in it, as long as one chooses not to leave behind traces. Don’t you agree?

So, how can one be careful? How can you and I be conscious in regards to not leaving behind such footprints when on a trek?  

The solutions are simple. One has to responsibly manage his waste by following the principle of ‘ Leave No Trace.’

And today, to help you inspire and be conscious, I want to highlight the green efforts of one of India’s top trekking communities – Indiahikes.

In June 2019, I had an opportunity to go for a Himalayan trek with this team. It was then when I was first introduced to their concept, “Green Trails.”

What is Green Trails?

Green trails an initiative put forth by Indiahikes to clean and maintain the beauty of the Himalayas. Their objective is to reform the world of trekking in an eco-friendly and sustainable way to reduce the environmental impact.

How do they do it?

1. Eco-Bags

Before beginning with the trek, the trekkers are handed with an eco-bag (the one tied to my waist).

The purpose of this bag is to collect litter encountered along the trail. And it is strictly for the trash found in the mountains.

With the “take your trash back” policy, Indiahikes makes it clear that every trekker has to take their waste back with them, a rule we all should anyway follow.

Around 6000 Kg of waste is collected every year from the Himalayas, which is a lot!

2. Segregation

At each successive campsite, all the collected litter in the eco-bags get segregated into wastes that can go for recycling/upcycling, composting, and non-recycling waste.

The goal to minimize the amount of waste going into the landfill forms the cornerstone of the Green Trails. 

3. Dry Toilets

Did you know that human poop takes around one year to decompose?

Also, did you know that an average human produces around 500 g of poop every day? That means in 7 days, one trekker produces around 3.5 kilos of poop. A batch of 18 trekkers, in 7 days, produces 63 kilos of poop.

These numbers matter, especially when a group goes for a week-long trek. Pooping in the wilderness has its drawbacks as it can pollute the groundwater that flows into nearby rivers, or can even pass harmful bacteria from humans to the animals. Therefore, poop decomposition is crucial.

Luckily, Indiahikes has managed to find a way to reduce this impact by building Dry Toilets at each campsite. These are toilet tents with a deep pit, and two sacks – one with sawdust/cocopeat (powdered coconut husk) and the other with mud.

All you have to do is, and I’m saying this from experience,

  1. Squat over the pit,
  2. do your business, use the toilet paper, and throw it in the pit;
  3. Finally, cover everything with cocopeat and mud.

Why cocopeat?

Because it soaks up the moisture content and fastens the decomposition process, this makes the poop degrade within 6-8 months.

As water slows down the degradation, these dry toilets prove to be useful.

Now I know that for a regular one-day trek, you might not make the effort to carry along cocopeat. However, what you can do is find a spot at least 200 meters away from the campsite or the water stream, dig up a pit, excrete and cover it up. This way, you can ensure less impact on the groundwater and also maintain the overall hygiene of the surrounding. 

4. Workshops and Awareness Programs

Villages in the remotest of places, do not have municipal corporations to take care of the waste therein; this triggers the local people to dig up a giant pit, fill it with their garbage, and burn the entire thing. As a result, this process does nothing but simply piles up pollution levels.

With Green trails, Indiahikes organizes workshops to address the issue and help create awareness among the villagers, promoting the idea of segregation.

The team educates and encourages them to engineer upcycled products like eco-bricks. Eco-bricks comprise filling a plastic or glass bottle with non-biodegradable waste materials. These bricks prove to be of excellent use in the construction of local infrastructures.

Another such example is the creation of eco-pillows sold to the trekkers as souvenirs. Local women are encouraged to participate in crafting these upcycled products, and the revenue made is distributed among them.

Conclusion

  • Such grassroots projects functioning deliberately for the greater good of our society, call for the acknowledgment and support from recognized organizations that can help to achieve the goal with greater efficiency.
  • Indiahikes is doing their bit to keep their trail as clean as humanly possible. Awareness towards them can itself help change the perspective of us citizens to do our bit to maintain not just the wilderness but the daily surroundings as well.
  • We should not feel the need for such initiatives to go for a cleanliness drive, even picking up a piece of trash encountered on our way and discarding it into a dustbin can make a difference. Or from now on, let us carry an eco-bag of our own!

Comment down below and let me know what you think.