Published: 16th August 2020
Here's how Bengaluru's Green Utsav can help you get environment-friendly desi festival prep
Stop talking and start working for the environment — that's what Rishita Sharma believes in. She speaks about her initiative to rent eco-friendly party decor for events in and around Bengaluru
While we post several articles and videos that convey the message of climate change on social media, how many of us actually use eco-friendly products and materials when we celebrate birthdays and other events? That's is something Rishita Sharma has been pushing for in Bengaluru through her start-up Green Utsav. She says, "Green refers to a clean environment and Utsav means festival. My intention is to celebrate all festivals using only eco-friendly materials. Hence, I am not only creating awareness about this but also renting out some decorative materials that are eco-friendly."
But what led her to take this initiative and launch Green Utsav? A few years ago, Rishita noticed that plastic bowls or paper cups were being extensively used during weddings and other events. She felt that it was time to replace these with steel plates, cups, bowls and spoons. In 2014, she and her friend Lakshmi Sankaran launched a start-up called Rent-A-Cutlery. "We bought our own steel utensils and started renting them for various events. A few people from other states replicated the same idea, including a lady in Boston who started renting cutlery to people in the US, and told us that we were the motivation behind their initiative. We were quite happy with this impact. We got publicity only through word of mouth and now, we get many calls from people when they host events" says Rishita who is proud of their start-up.
At the same time, Rishita noticed that the decoration at these events were also made either of plastic or other non-biodegradable material. This prompted Rishita to launch Green Utsav in 2016. Why use only balloons when you can make something creative that children will love, asks Rishita whose decorative materials are hand-made, eco-friendly and can guarantee you zero waste production. She explains, "I use pom-poms made from wool or paper, reusable clothes that have beautiful prints to decorate the background, cartoon cut-outs made from paper and a few other things that go well with any theme. Though we can make it a colourful event, it is difficult to convince people. It was quite a challenge initially to make them understand that children will enjoy events even without balloons and other plastic decor. But now, the attitude of people is changing. Since, the lockdown prevents me from visiting places and people to decorate these events, I have started renting out my decorations."
Aside from this, Rishita has also been conducting workshops on how to grow microgreens at home, how to make rakhis without using plastic. Recently, she conducted her first online workshop to help people make their own clay Ganesha. "Every year, during Ganesh Chaturthi, I take orders for clay Ganeshas. Though Vocal for Local might be a new concept for people, I have been practising it for many years. I take help from the local potter here to make these Ganeshas and sell them. This way, even the potter earns some money. Currently, we have already completed 20 models of Ganesha and all these are orders from individuals. We are hoping to receive a few more orders before the festival ends," she concludes.