An A-Z guide to living your best sustainable life
Navigate your way through an eco-friendly lifestyle
BY Gautam Vazirani | June 12th, 2019
A for AFROZ SHAH
Lawyer and nature activist Afroz Shah won the UN Champions of the Earth award in 2016 for leading the world’s largest beach clean-up project at Versova in Mumbai. He spent three years clearing 20 million kg of garbage. Shah has now committed to clean Mumbai’s Mithi River for the next five years.
B for BLOGS
Indian millennials are sharing stories on conscious living to make sustainable fashion cool. @the_stylewali blogs out of Ahmedabad and Bengaluru and gives the Indian sari a ‘gen-z’ avatar. ‘The Conscious Desi’ is an advocate for plastic-free living. Read @foundintranslations and @pinkpeppercorn_sonal to get inspired.
C for CYCLE SHARING
Bicycle sharing is an environmentally friendly option for short distance commutes. Uber has tied up with electric cycle sharing app Yulu in Bengaluru to offer bicycle rentals. Chinese cycle sharing company Mobike launched in Pune and aims to take it to 10 Indian cities by 2020. It’s time to pedal!
D for DYES
Did you know air pollution and waste marigold flowers are being used to make dyes and inks? Air Ink wants to arrest the vehicular soot that comes from burning petrol and diesel before it reaches our lungs. MATR, a social enterprise from Bihar is transforming marigold flower waste generated by the famous Mahabodhi temple into natural dyes.
E for ECOTOURISM
90 per cent of Indians are likely to book an accommodation knowing it is eco-friendly, according to Booking.com. Social travel company ‘NotOnMap’ works on sustainable tourism in nine Indian states by restoring traditional houses and trains villagers in rural areas to host travellers. Eco-Village, 108km from Mumbai offers a community experience based on spiritual and eco-friendly principles.
F for FASHION REVOLUTION
Fashion Revolution is a not-for-profit global movement in over 100 countries aiming to make the fashion industry ethical. The anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh on April 24 is celebrated every year as Fashion Revolution Day. Millions of people around the world call on brands to answer the question:#WhoMadeMyClothes?
G for GREENSOLE
Professional athletes Shriyans Bhandari and Ramesh Dhami started GreenSole, an organisation that turns old shoes into footwear for hundreds of children. GreenSole has donated over 1,50,000 pairs to people in need in villages and runs an e-store that sells upcycled footwear. Greensole.in
H for HARAHOUSE
Hara House in Bikaner is North India’s first zero waste guest house. It was founded by social entrepreneur Jazzmine Raine from Canada, who is passionate about sustainable travel and ethical fashion. Sunshineandraine.com
I for I WAS A SARI
Winner of India’s largest sustainable fashion award, Circular Design Challenge and the first Indian label to showcase at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, I Was A Sari makes fashionable clothes, shoes, jewellery and bags out of waste saris by engaging under-privileged artisan communities in Mumbai. Iwasasari.com
J for JEWELLERY
Brands are creating eco-friendly options with an increasing awareness of the negative impact of gemstone mining. Purpose Jewellery makes beautifully crafted rings, bracelets and necklaces by young women rescued from sex trafficking in South Asia. Devi Chand makes sustainable paper jewelry called Paper Melon from her home studio in Chennai. Purposejewelry.org
K for KHADI
An iconic and eco-friendly Indian fabric and a symbol of India’s freedom movement, khadi uses hand-spun and handwoven cotton, silk and wool to uplift communities in villages that are involved in it’s farming, spinning and weaving processes. Labels like Buna, Maku, Rashmi Varma have reinvented khadi with a global appeal.
L for LEATHER
Leather and sustainability may not often go together due to the associated animal cruelty. However, brands like Kanabis, Aulive, Arture and Broke Mate are creating cruelty-free and vegan leather shoes and bags. Kanabis is PETA – approved vegan and uses hemp as a substitute for leather.
M for MUSIC FESTIVAL
Music and sustainable living is finally hitting the right notes. Echoes of Earth in Bengaluru celebrates music through the lens of ‘recycle, reuse, and reduce’. With solar-powered stages and upcycled art installations, this festival aims to reduce waste generation by using recyclable material in the making of the festival.
N for NATIONAL HANDLOOM DAY
National Handloom Day has been observed annually since 2015 on August 7 to honour India’s handloom weavers. 95 per cent of the world’s handloom is made here, and the eco-friendly sector provides sustainable employment to 4.33 million people, making it the second biggest source of employment in rural India.
O for ORGANIC
There is an urgent need for a shift towards sustainable and organic cotton as the current approach strips the soil of its fertility. India produces over half of the world’s organic cotton yet it is only one per cent of India’s total cotton production. Intimate wear brands like Inner Sense and S.O.I.E are making organic accessible by using it in their lingerie range.
P for POP-UPS
Back Alley’s thrift pop-up in Mumbai sells pre-loved clothes, accessories and home decor at rock-bottom prices to tackle the industry’s biggest concern—exploding landfills. Shuffling Suitcases brings together a community of ethical and sustainable fashion brands in Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Bengaluru. Bodements curates vintage fashion pop-ups.
Q for QUIT THE ONE WEAR
What do Deepika Padukone and Cate Blanchett have in common? They’ve both been rewearing outfits for their outings. Not only is it good for the planet, but also à la mode. When you shop, ask yourself, “Will I wear it more than 30 times?” If not, put it down.
Cate Blanchett 2014- Cate Blanchett 2018
R for ROOTED OBJECTS
E-commerce site, Rooted Objects promotes Indian luxury brands following sustainable and ethical practices. It is a curation of a variety of conscious artisanal labels: from clothing, accessories and skincare to home décor. Here you’ll find swimwear made of recycled fishnets from PA.NI, locally handcrafted clothing and homeware from The Summer House, and naturally sourced soothing lip care from Pinksalt. Rootedobjects.com
S for SOS ORGANICS
SOS Organics preserves and promotes the resources and cultures of the Himalayas. Its range covers organic soaps, cosmetics, teas, oils, and a variety of Himalayan millets, flours and rice. Everything is organically grown and locally sourced. Sosorganics.com
T for TED TALKS
Watch this inspiring playlist of videos that will make you want to change the world:
U for UNDERSTAND THE FACTS
People do not wear 50 per cent clothes in their wardrobes. The fashion industry is responsible for 20 per cent of global water waste and 10 per cent of global carbon emissions. One in six people in the world works in a fashion-related job and 80 per cent of workers in the fashion-supply chain are women.
V for VEGAN FOOD
A vegan diet can save 4,200 litres of water every day, 9.1 kg of CO2 equivalent and 30 square feet of forested land. Vegan restaurants like Paradigm Shift in Bengaluru, Terrasen Café in Hyderabad and Earth Cafe in Mumbai are cooking burgers, salads, pizzas, smoothies and desserts in vegan options to tempt you to make the shift.
W for WASH BETTER
A speedy eco-guide to doing your laundry.
1) Use cold water to save energy in the washing machine.
2) Use an eco-friendly detergent like BubbleNut wash, a natural alternative made from soapnut that can replace chemical-intensive detergents.
3) Hang clothes to dry to extend their life.
X for COLLABORATIONS
Disruptive collaborations at Lakmé Fashion Week is sustainable fashion’s new normal. Tencel (one of the world’s most ecological fibres made from sustainable wood pulp) X Rajesh Pratap Singh, Anita Dongre X R|Elan and ELLE Graduates winner Yavi (by Yadvi Agarwal) X Earth Tee by R|Elan, made by recycling PET bottles that were used during LFW.
Clothing: Anita Dongre and Rajesh Pratap Singh
Y for YOU
Here are some ways in which YOU can create a sustainable lifestyle and reduce your environment footprint: Choose brands that are vegan, organic and use 100 per cent bio-degradable packaging. Carry a cloth bag and carry your own bottle. Eat local and shop at local farmer’s markets. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and segregate your waste. Plant more trees.
Z for ZERO WASTE
Mumbai generates around 10,000 tonnes of waste each day and most of this is sent to dumping grounds with mostly no processing. To tackle this issue, Divya Ravichandran started Skrap that provides waste management solutions to offices and events. Today, she discards less than 100 grams of waste from her home, per year, making her the champion of zero waste. Skrap.in
Photographs: Getty Images, Shutterstock.com