Go green this festive season: a guide to celebrating a sustainable Diwali
Think pista diyas, everlasting gajras and green gifts
A sustainable Diwali may sound like an oxymoron to the untrained eye. But unlike news channels and restraint/logic, these two can actually go together — all you need to do is add a green filter to your gold-standard Diwali plans. Take it from us. We’ve slowly tossed out our plastic toothbrushes and replaced them with bamboo, our bathroom shelves are packed with green and clean skincare, even our yoga mats subtly nod to our more responsible lifestyle.
And now we’ve found fun ways to continue our sustainable streak through the festive season. You don’t have to give up on the celebrations that light up your Diwali, or abandon all hope of exchanging those much-awaited gifts.
In fact, crafty Kareenas will love our list of DIYs that will help you make the best from waste. From creating diyas using pista shells to turning bangles into DIY napkin rings even your nani will be proud of, these activities are also perfect to entertain your mini-mes and keep them from disrupting your besan ladoo binge. Two birds, one reusable stone.
Online shopping addicts, a sustainable Diwali means spending mindfully, so here’s a shopping list that will help you pile on good karma faster than you put on Diwali weight courtesy desi ghee-ladened mithais. Think (almost) ever-lasting gajras and more…
5 things to add to your sustainable Diwali cart
Biodegradable diyas from Amazon
Make the oldest Diwali tradition of lighting diyas a sustainable one with these biodegradable diyas.
Made using natural ingredients, these diyas are 100% biodegradable, and chemical-free. These diyas float in water too, and can be used to make beautiful Diwali arrangements.
Price: ₹161 for a pack of 10
Eco-friendly gajra from Okhai
Fresh flowers can’t last forever, and plastic is definitely not an option when putting together the perfect traditional look for a sustainable Diwali. And that’s why this eco-friendly gajra by Okhai is your best bet. It is handcrafted using pith retrieved from the Shola wood that is sure to last you for years, and makes for the perfect green tweak.
Mogra-scented Joy Gold candle by Tweak India
A sustainable Diwali means steering away from fireworks and phuljhadis, but it is still the festival of lights. This limited-edition drop will fill your home with the scent of mogra, and give it a festive gleam for the season. The glass containers can be repurposed to hold makeup brushes, stationery or as tiny vases perfect to place on your dresser, once the candles have served their purpose.
Plantable Seed Ganesha and Lakshmi from Sow and Grow
Diwali puja means truckloads of mithai, talking over each other, and chaos, that unlike rush hour traffic, fills you with joy. This year it will also mean introducing eco-friendly twists in the most innovative ways.
Get yourself these Ganesha and Lakshmi idols that you can plant post the puja, and eventually watch them sprout into vibrant marigolds and fragrant tulsi plants.
This grow kit comes with Ganesha and Lakshmi idols made with soil and marigold and tulsi seeds, two biodegradable pots, 10 coco coins to use as a growth medium, organic micronutrients, additional marigold and tulsi seeds, and marker sticks.
This kit also makes for the perfect eco-friendly Diwali gift.
Pahadi Regimen gift box from Pahadi Local
All Pahadi Local products are responsibly sourced and are free of any additives.
This gift box includes an apricot kernel meal scrub, mineral-rich Himalayan powders that help clear pores, lighten scars, soothe oily skin, and a lake sediment detox salt that can be used as a cleanser.
6 Diwali DIYs for the craft lover
Turn pista shells into pieces of art
During festive season, the one thing towering higher than your pile of unfolded laundry is the stack of dry fruit boxes you receive as gifts.
And with an endless supply of pistachios, comes the accidental stepping on a pistachio shell gone rogue. Which hurts just a little less than stepping on those Lego blocks your kid leaves lying around.
Use this easy DIY to make candle or diya holders that will keep the ouches at bay and invite a sea of compliments to sweep away the guilt of singlehandedly consuming a year’s supply of pistas.
- Pistachio shells
- Hot glue gun
- Spray paint or acrylic paints
- Cardboard piece or used CD
- Embellishment and tea light candles
- Start off with making the base. The size of the base will depend upon the size of the candle you are planning to place inside. Anything with more than four rounds of pistachio shell will look clumsy so cut your cardboard base accordingly.
- Find the centre of the circle and draw an outline of the tea light you are planning to place inside. This is to make sure that your pistachio petals are glued right outside this circle.
- Now prepare the pistachio shells. Remove any peels or flakes that are there on the shell, and make it look neat. Additionally, you can even put them in laundry bleach for a while to bring out its natural colour. Be sure to remove broken pieces of shells.
- Apply your hot glue around the inner circle you just traced out on your cardboard. You have about five minutes to arrange the pistachio shells before the glue sets hard so work fast, but carefully.
- Once the first round of pistachio shells are glued on, you can move on to the second round, and can arrange it in two different ways. Either stick the pistachio shells around the first line side by side just like how you did with the first row or stick the shells in the space right behind the gap between two shells of the first line.
- Once you’ve covered the entire base, turn the base upside down, and apply a layer of glue to the edges to secure the shells in place.
- Now, paint the holder however you like, and leave to dry.
Repurpose bangles as DIY decor
It’s time to channel your inner mummy. You know how she always notices that one stray strand of wool that could’ve been the end of your favourite sweater or how you can never sneak into the house late because she will notice how you hurriedly placed your shoes somewhere other than your usual spot – this is the attention to detail you need to ace Diwali.
If the food, your outfit, the house, and even your brocade collared little beagle are going to look their festive best, then why shouldn’t the dining table.
Turn to your extensive collection of bangles and bracelets, and repurpose them as festive napkin rings for your sustainable Diwali do.
- Flowers (optional)
- Place the napkin in your stack of bangles.
- Tuck in single flowers and silver ware into each of the bangles and you have yourself a festive table setting.
- You can even give the bangles away as party favours at the end of the evening.
Give your fairy lights a sustainable Diwali facelift
This DIY uses empty crates of eggs to give your fairy lights a festive makeover while ensuring that you aren’t spending a bomb on floral arrangements.
Also, this activity makes for a great Diwali craft project for the little ones.
- Egg cartons
- Acrylic paint
- Sharp X-acto knife
- Paint brush
- Hot glue gun
- Fairy lights (single wire)
- Take a colourful egg carton or paint a regular one with acrylic paint of your choice. You can use more than one colour.
- Cut the painted carton into strips once the paint is dry using scissors.
- Cut the individual cups out from the strip.
- Cut the rim of each cup to make it even.
- Make slits at equal distances along the rims. The slits should be deep but should stop at about half a centimetre from the centre to form petals.
- Do the same for all the cups
- Take a knife and make a tiny cross slit at the base of the cup.
- Take a flower and insert one bulb through the slit at the bottom. If your slit is too small adjust it accordingly by widening the slit.
- Repeat these steps for the entire string of bulbs.
Make gifting look good and green
Diwali without presents is like wedding celebrations minus sangeet practice – what even is the point?
But gifting when you’ve vowed to have a sustainable Diwali will need you to steer away from wasteful packaging and turn to eco-friendly and reusable alternatives.
Fabric and newspaper are two such alternatives that you can dress up to make your Diwali hampers look great while being green.
With newspaper, the technique is fairly simple, you swap out wrapping paper with old newspaper and dress it up using paints, crayons, and other sustainable embellishments.
Wrap gifts using fabric
- Fabric of choice
- Tiny safety pins or all pins
- Cloth ribbon
- For this technique you will wrap a present much like you would with regular wrapping paper.
- Measure and cut a piece of fabric to cover the box like you would with paper gift wrap.
- Start wrapping the gift like you normally would, but instead of using tape, using pins to hold the fabric in place.
- Add a bow made using the ribbon to finish it off, and your sustainable wrapping job is all done.
Think out of the box for your rangoli
Sure, you can create your very own masterpiece using flower petals, diyas and even colourful ingredients from your kitchen like coffee powder, dals, haldi and more… but why not mould yourself a modern Rangoli design using the Play-Doh and clay that your kid loves leaving all over the house?
It’s one way to help your child feel like he/she is part of the celebrations and is far less wasteful than buying the synthetic and chemical colours floating around. Use moulds to help them create their own designs, or let their imagination go wild…
Revamp pre-loved festive wear
Unfortunately, keeping your sari-loving monster tamed and not investing in more clothes is also a green guideline that you will have to follow, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to style your festive attire to look completely different.
Here are some innovative ways to drape your sari and look your best for this year’s sustainable Diwali celebrations.
Throw a dupatta in the mix
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Give this dhoti drape a go
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Make your sari multitask like a pro
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