It is estimated that more than 10 million weddings take place in India every year and all of these celebrations leave behind truckloads of trash in the form of discarded plastic cutlery, used flowers, a large amount of food, etc.
With wedding season set to begin again from 14 April, as per industry experts, this will further add to it the other waste related to weddings like the wedding cards, return gifts, and unwanted wedding gifts.
Wedding curators Aaradhana & Prateek Kashyap of Made in Heaven list down some tips for a Zero Waste Wedding
Opt for a hybrid wedding – The pandemic has made hybrid weddings, the norm of the day. It’s safe, can be low on cost, and make it a very intimate and personal celebration. Having the guest count to a minimum, you can stay long enough and have an elaborate wedding. A small guest list will also help to better plan catering, favors, and décor, as well as implement low-waste solutions that may not be possible with a larger wedding party.
Prefer a day wedding – This will help avoid the gensets and the electricity load at the venue. Choose a venue with an open lawn and natural beauty and shade with flowers and trees aplenty. If the venue is naturally attractive, you can avoid decoration waste.
Choose your venue wisely – Opt for a sustainable and eco-friendly venue that uses solar energy, composts and recycles waste, has tie-ups with NGOs for donating excess food, fresh flowers, space with reusable décor, and a lawn for day events, etc.
Go for e-invites or, recycled and seed paper invites – Avoid paper invites and go for e-invites. If at all, you want to go for physical invites, limit the number and opt for recycled paper or bamboo and even seeded invites.
Avoid theme weddings– A theme wedding involves elaborate structures, involving the use of wood, thermocol and other materials that cannot be used, therefore it’s advisable to avoid theme weddings. If at all, you plan a themed event, rent rather than buy decor and equipment, rent it! This will ensure that there is less wastage and that you are not contributing directly to it!
Decor wisely – Avoid plastics, instead use local fresh flowers and support a small entrepreneur. The flower waste can be given to NGOs who upcycle them and make products from fresh flower waste. Also, make sure to use foam-free floral installations. Use live plants as centerpieces, you can even give them away to your guests as favors. Use scrap cloth for décor or reusable props. Avoid electric lights, instead, use solar lanterns. At a typical Indian wedding, more than Rs.2 lakh is spent on lighting alone. Hire a wedding curator who specializes in sustainable weddings. Use minimum construction.
Keep a check on Food waste – Its startling to note that between 10-20 percent of the food goes to waste at an average Indian wedding. To avoid food waste, opt for plated dinners, have a plan about saving leftovers if you are doing a buffet for eg., tying up with a cloud kitchen or food service that can take up the extra food and provide it to those who need it. What’s better than donating food to a food bank at your wedding?. Support local farmers by choosing locally- sourced food, opting for seasonal food, and more vegetarian dishes than non-vegetarian. Replace plastic water bottles with water stations with flavored filtered water. Opt for reusable water bottles and jugs in the guest rooms. Replace paper napkins with cloth napkins. For cutlery, use ceramic, steel, or bamboo. Segregate dry and wet waste so that composting is easier after the celebrations are over.
Wedding Outfits: Buy from sustainable brands, upcycle your wedding dress or borrow from your mother or father’s wardrobe, its nostalgic to wear what your parents wore on their D-day. You can even rent your wedding attire.
Wedding Gifts – You can opt for gift registry services or e-gift cards which can reduce waste generated by gifts alone by almost 50%. However, if you are not in need of any gifts, you can request guests to support charity as gifts. Donating gifts to those in need is a conscientious way to begin your life together.
Wedding favors – While you can’t always control what guests gift you, you can be sustainable with return gifts. So, opt for zero-waste-themed wedding favors. Don’t use plastic gift wraps, instead use reusable containers, jute bags, or cloth purses.