Guess who’s back? Shaadi season’s back, tell a friend! Jokes aside though, cooler climes mean that Pakistan gears up for the festive season, which in this country is often simply characterized by weddings. And why shouldn’t it be? Given that the average desi nuptials last anywhere from a week to a month, these extravaganzas have morphed into nothing less than a competition. And while it’s all fun and games for the bride and groom and their families, these massive weddings also leave behind a gigantic carbon foot-print.
And it isn’t just the carbon foot-print that you should be worried about; lavish weddings accumulate equally excessive waste. From plastic bottles to left-over food, the décor, the traffic it generates, the fumes from generators and the fancy packaged cards, local weddings are steeped in customs that were acceptable during our parent’s youth (not really though, had the boomers been a bit more environmentally conscious we wouldn’t be standing at the brink of the Earth’s destruction at this point in time) but are no longer viable given the current threat our planet is under.
If the idea of climate change sounds alarming, it’s because it is. And we all need to be mindful about the impact we have on our environment. Given the integral role weddings play in our society and the general pomp and fanfare that accompanies each event, we need to be cognizant of what we’re leaving behind for future generations.
Dark, dooming warnings disseminated, let’s get down to business and discuss ways in which we can contribute positively towards helping the Earth heal. Here are some ways you can ensure that your wedding is waste-free but still winsome!
Wedding invitations are a precursor to what you can expect at a wedding. Is it a box with layers of tissue and paper and ten different invitation cards? Does it use tons of paper or plastic accessories for aesthetic purposes? Is that really necessary? Switch over to biodegradable paper or wedding invites that use seed paper. Seed paper invites can easily be planted back into Earth and lead to plantation or reforestation on an individual level. Who doesn’t love oxygen and clean air?
Say NO to Plastic
So everyone is aware of the perils of plastic but it’s harder to cut out this nefarious substance from our lives. You can carry your reusable water bottle around all day but when it comes to weddings, there needs to be a Plan B. Instead of opting for single use water bottles, families can opt for the 19 liter recycled bottles and water jugs. Switch to soda cans over plastic since cans are recyclable and can be put to use again unlike their plastic counterparts.
Want not, waste not!
One of the greatest culprits when it comes to weddings are the caterers. The amount of food wasted during weddings is not only criminal but down right inhumane. End to end buffet tables adorned with steaming serving dishes boasting of every dish and delicacy that is appropriate to serve at weddings and while most guests pile their plates high (we’re looking at you with your mountain of tempura prawns you’ll barely eat) with food, the amount consumed in comparison to the amount wasted is startlingly disproportionate. Instead of spreads that could put the dinner service at a gourmet restaurant to shame can we all opt for simpler, smaller menus and have a provision for waste? From companies like Waste Busters who take away bio-waste and turn it into compost to other agencies that you can partner with for the redistribution of left-overs, there are several ways you can not only save the environment but also feed those desperately in need. Two birds, one boti!
You can also reduce the impact your wedding has on the environment by opting for a day function instead of night events, by saying no to plastic and tinsel decorations, by choosing party-favours that either benefit the environment or make use of biodegradable materials and possibly, by cutting down the number of events.
You’re absolutely entitled to living out your dream wedding and going as over-the-top as you can afford or please but this is no longer a case of what we can and can’t do. It’s about acknowledging the moral responsibility we have towards our ailing plant and doing whatever we can, in any capacity to help it heal.