Make the most of your newspaper

What do you do after you have read the newspaper ?

1. Wrap gifts – no more hunting for gift wrapping paper . Neatly pack gifts in newspaper . Make a card with left over regular paper and pieces of cloth / use a flamboyant fabric to tie the unusual ensemble

2. Make envelopes from newspaper . Splash a bit of color . And voila – you have  envelopes that make you feel like writing letters.

3. Pens from newspaper (not possible perhaps to make at home )

4. Newspaper bags – use fabric strips to make the handles , color the bag , stencil messages on the bag

5. On days when you can’t get dried leaves – add newspaper shreds to your composting bin.

Why use a cloth bag ?

Why use a cloth bag when retailers recklessly and generously hand out plastic bags of varying sizes considering -

- Plastic Bags save you the effort of carrying a cloth / reusable bag with you.

- Plastic Bags can be used as bin liners

- Plastic bags can be used to store veggies in the refrigerator

- If the plastic bag is that of a fancy brand – you get to let your friends , colleagues , neighbors and all in visual range know that you are able to afford the fancy brand in question. Carrying it again and again establishes beyond doubt that you are a person that frequently buys that brand = you have taste + the financial resources to do so.

-Carrying multiple bags shows you’ve been shopping = you can afford it.

Why use a cloth bag ?

- There are innumerable everyday objects for which we don’t have easily available / alternatives to plastic – toothpaste , toothbrush , razor , primary food packaging (e.g oil , pulses , bread , biscuits), plastic water bottles , kitchen containers . These few items alone are enough for an average urban resident to be responsible for a hillock (if not mountain ) of plastic in his/her lifetime. At this point in time we don’t have easily alternatives (or even answers) for some of these everyday items that come in plastic. With a bag at least you have a CHOICE.

- Plastic does not bio-degrade . At least we won’t be alive to witness it . The plastic bag you use is going to hang around on the planet long after we are gone.

- Lives of birds , animals, marine life are threatened by the plastic remnants . They die due to ingestion of plastic . Those that survive undergo mutation . Would you like it if consequences of the thoughtless actions of another species affected your health and the duration of your life ?

- The plastic we throw away enters the food chain of human beings through animals , birds and marine life.

- We already have the challenge of dealing with depleting natural resources , pollution,  consequences of climate change, terrorism, poverty . From being stuck in the problem end of the equation we need to move to being part of the solution. Governments alone are not responsible for the state of the planet . All of mankind is . No government forces us to use plastic , to leave the tap open , to drive around pointlessly burning fuel , to not reach out to someone whose life we can impact .

The changes needed to make this a sustainable planet need us to participate . Not just by clicking answers on some internet poll. Participate by making tangible , consistent changes.

Your actions matter. Every action matters.

Clean Planet on Stylesight

Global fashion portal Style Sight has featured Clean Planet in ‘Sites that Inspire’. Cool !

Manufacturing content

Plastic free magazines

It’s almost di rigueur these days for magazines (in Indian retail ) to be wrapped in plastic .

An alarmingly increasing number of magazines are choosing plastic…plastic that will remain on the face of the earth long after the magazine issue has been read and recycled. Ironically several of the magazines carry (from time to time ) articles on ‘how to save the planet’ urge readers to be ‘more eco-friendly’.

Not satisfied with 1 plastic bag some magazines have 2 bags per issue . One for the main magazine , one for the supplement. We’re guessing it’s to maximize revenue from the advertisers of the back cover of the magazine as well as the supplement.

It’s a case of short term gains entirely obliterating the larger issue of needless damage to the environment . The magazine industry is by no means the lone ranger in this regard. A whole host of companies and industries keep them ‘company’.

As readers and citizens of the earth – we should exercise the responsibility to write to magazines to eschew plastic . It’ll take a few minutes to send an email . Repeated messages from readers will eventually necessitate magazines to find alternative , earth friendly ways to transport the copies to retail.

Here’s a draft that you can adapt to write to your fav magazines that currently use plastic covers :

To Team ABC Magazine

I would feel a lot better about buying your magazine if you eliminate the plastic cover . As you possibly know the plastic is going to hang around on the planet long after you and me have moved on. It does not bother me if the copy in retail looks less than pristine. It bothers me immensely that it comes enclosed in a material that chokes our planet and poses risk to all species.

Let’s save the only place we call home – Planet Earth. I believe that while no one can do everything . Everyone can do something.

Regards ,

Eco-warrior (your name here )

p.s – I hope your magazine supports tree plantation in a systemic way to compensate for the paper used to print the issues.

Pl share the draft with your friends via email , Facebook , twitter . Take a few mins to email the message to your fav magazines that use plastic bags to pack every copy. Do so every month till you see plastic free copies in retail.

* The magazines in the pic are representative of the category . The problem is by no means limited to these specific magazines.

Birds need you this summer

Summer is here . Birds and animals are as impacted by the heat as us . It is found that birds and animals can die due to the heat and lack of water .

Let’s do our bit to make water available to birds and animals facing the consequence of the actions of our species . Keep a bowl of water in your balcony / terrace / compound .


Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Reconnect, Revalue, Restore, Reforest, Revive, Reawaken, React, Reassert, Re…pair, Rethink, Review, Renew, Regenerate, Reinvent, Replenish, Relearn, Reform, Reverse, Respect…words that inspired Neha . She added her own to this list Re-glaze.

In a discussion with a trained potter who has been working with Neha for some time – the potter often mentioned about the left over glazes at his studio . Having no idea how to use them he would throw it away. Every time Neha met him she wondered how they could “reuse “the left over glazes.

Inspiration struck while working on a range for the ‘Earth Mela’ .Having studied pottery Neha had a hunch that the glazes could be reused. They collected all the left over glazes, designed mini vases , dipped the glazes and kept fingers crossed to see the results.

Ceramic high fired stoneware clay mini vases glazed with material that would have otherwise been discarded .The result is in the image…beautiful shades of earthy browns, blues, green tones .The colors are reminiscent of the glazes used by Japanese studio potters.

These vases are all hand thrown in different shapes and they can never get the same colour. That is part of the beauty of reusing.

Wait a bit before your throw something away. In experimenting with it you never know what miracles lie in store.

Pic and concept : Matsya

Recyclable does not equal recycled

In theory everything is recyclable. I could recycle a building, an airplane, a DVD, a camera…or even my tooth brush. For something recyclable to actually be recycled someone needs to take that something and want to turn it into something new. That is exactly where the problem lies with the recycling concept…Interesting article by Kathleen Boylan.

It’s a good idea to reuse and reuse as much as possible . Invest in quality products . And when you feel you no longer want to use a product even though it’s in perfectly good condition try one of the following (listed in no particular order)

1. Do a bit of recycling on your own. Make something else from the original object . Turn saris into tablecloth , gift wrapping paper.

2. Find an alternative/creative use for the object e.g turn old mouse pads into table mats or coasters.

3. Pl pass it on to someone who can use it.

Let’s remember that unless the object is bio-degradable – when we throw stuff away there’s no ‘away’. It remains here on planet earth.


The ultimate eco bag !

It may not be possible for all to expertly and quickly fashion stable bags from cloth . We can however use cloth creatively wrap gifts.

Ditch wrapping paper . Instead use cloth – old saris , stoles , scarves, dupattas . Being in the clothing biz we get fabric swatches of varying dimensions on a regular basis . Some of them are used to wrap objects , gifts . The end result is always delightful – for us and the recipient.

p.s – we’ve been thinking about the number of items one can make from a sari. In a few weeks we should be able to share the fun creations from a sari

The story of bottled water

Do watch . This will make you rethink the next purchase of bottled water.

Carry a reusable bottle filled with filtered water . When you visit a friend or an office ask to refill the bottle. You’ll have better tasting water and a cleaner planet. Asking to refill the bottle at a friend’s place is possibly easier than doing so at an office . But once you start doing so it’ll feel normal . It will inspire others to do the same.

Go ahead. Make a difference.