Five easy steps that can make zero-waste weddings a new norm in India

Indian Wedding
It’s wedding season in India. And there can be no other better time than now to highlight the need for zero-waste weddings. In our country, every year at least 1 crore couples get married. The quantity of waste generated in a single wedding can be equal to the waste generated by a household in 12 months. You may do the math and imagine the scale of mixed waste that would end up in a landfill after the wedding.

Weddings weren’t this much of a waste creator until the early 2000s when more and more Indians started to have grand weddings and meanwhile plastic started to gain popularity.

With growing awareness, zero-waste weddings are no more associated with bland parties. But for many, the concept is still foreign or seems practically impossible. Obviously, no one can achieve the zero in zero-waste, it is largely an idea of creating as minimum waste as we can. So this concept is a vital option that every family must have before planning a wedding.

Here we bring you five effortless ways you can reduce tons of waste from wedding parties:

1. Outdoor Location

Indian Wedding 1

Choose outdoor locations over indoor wedding halls. This creates less need for decoration as you can use greenery around as a beautiful backdrop. When planned indoors, there is an enormous amount of glossy plastic and paper decorations used which at the end will usually get mixed with flower decorations. An additional benefit to a daytime outdoor wedding is that there’s less or no requirement for lights, thus saving a huge deal of electricity – and yes that too counts as reducing the carbon footprint.

2. Invitations on recycled paper

Indian Wedding 2

Even though the best way to go minimal is digital invitations in image and video format, but as we know there are relatives for whom digital invites won’t seem appropriate. In such cases, the use of recycled paper is the ultimate solution. Fortunately, many new print shops now offer the option of using recycled paper for wedding invitations. Even though they would be a bit pricier than the normal paper, the cost would definitely balance out since you would only print such cards in small numbers for selected acquaintances.

3. Reusable decoration

The use of cut-flowers and twigs is always a better option than plastic and paper decorations, but if used smartly the same cut flowers can be reorganized and used for different days of the wedding function. Make sure to avoid glitters and balloons that will be used just once. Reusable decoration props are a great option to not miss out on making the wedding absolutely colorful. This includes the use of colorful drapes, potted plants that are flowering and reusable paper decorations.

4. Eco-friendly tableware

Indian Wedding 4

While choosing plates, cups, and cutlery, there are two options – either you may use reusable steel and ceramic tableware or you may go for biodegradable single-use tableware that can be discarded into wet- waste or compost after the guests are done eating. Plastic spoons and bowls are still being widely used in functions and that can be easily replaced with the better options of cutlery and cups made completely from plants. Various small businesses provide such plant made alternatives at an affordable cost. All you need to do is be on the lookout for plastic-free solutions.

5. Waste Management

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All the zero-waste efforts ultimately boil down to how the end trash was managed. Make sure to appoint someone who will ensure that waste is segregated and not mixed by anyone. Designated and well-marked dustbins must be installed at the venue which makes the complete handling of waste way easier.

There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.

Annie Leonard

Flowers, fruits and vegetable peels, rice grains, compostable plates and cutlery must all be discarded into wet-waste and sent for composting.

The ideal way to handle food leftover is to tie-up with non-profit organizations such as Robinhood Army that make the food reach the people in need.

Paper and plastic waste if generated must be segregated as dry waste and should be sent for recycling.

Few more ways you can reduce waste:

  • Rent outfits that you are sure you would rarely use
  • Recreate dresses with old sarees that are passed down
  • Return gifts that are useful and wrapped devoid of plastic
  • On your invitation, mention that it is a zero-waste wedding
  • Use of big-slate and chalk for wedding board at the entrance

Overall, the steps are pretty straightforward but practically it’s easier said than done. It will need a lot of No’s and tons of reasoning to family members in order to plan a sustainable wedding. And yes the idea can even be laughed upon. But if you deeply care about the concept and can do even one zero-waste step out of all the steps mentioned, you are going to make a huge difference. No action is small and no discussion is worthless.

Happy Wedding Season!

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