Local household products
Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Going local isn't just about using Indian products but also about using products and eventually don't harm the Indian soil, skies and waters. It will be surprising that since the Vedic times we’ve been using products that are eco-friendly and highly sustainable. They not only treat the planet right but also give the locals a means to survive and earn.
Change starts from home so switching to sustainable, local products used at your home will make a huge impact with minimal effort.
For brushing your teeth, bamboo brushes instead of plastic ones can be used and if one wants to be full traditional, miswak and neem datuns (twigs) can be used. They have antibacterial properties and help keep gums healthy. They are known to reduce many gum related diseases.
For toothpastes, herbal tooth powders can be used; they can be DIYed too! If herbal powders don't suit, toothpastes with sustainable packaging must be bought.
For soaps, ancient Indians knew what's the best. Ayurveda has provided for many options like ubtan, gram flour, turmeric paste, handmade soaps, dung soaps, etc. A very interesting addition to this list is bath scrub made from vetiver roots. It's a 100% natural product and since it gently exfoliates, the vetiver bath scrub is an ideal bath accessory to relax the body and relieve tension. It also keeps the skin soft, smooth and naturally radiant. Vetiver oil can also be used as a natural moisturiser.
Shikakai, Avla, Aritha, Hibiscus wash and Henna can be used for shampoos. As far as packaging is concerned, bar shampoos and conditioners do an excellent job. Refillable bottles help avoiding regular waste generation.
Kajal (kohl) can be made using natural ingredients like Sandalwood, metal plate, almonds, Oil, Ajwain and diya.
Furniture (mats, baskets, chairs, tables and boards) made from bamboo/reed and Palm tree wood are highly sustainable.
Bajot: A bajot is a low heightened stool which is usually in square shape. Earlier when there was no dining table culture these Bajot or chowki were used as tables to serve the food.
Rajasthani Bajot is the eternal handcrafted beauty which gives a classy charm to any ambiance. The bajot or chowki has beautiful hand-painted traditional folk paintings on it. These all bajot are still crafted from hand and painted with utmost fineness. You will see detailed exclusive Meenakari work also in some of this bajot, which gives a glam look to the abode.
Mops, duster, brooms made of the midrib / spine of coconut leaves (dried/fresh) are easily degraded and cause no harm to the soil, in fact end up enriching it through the process of biodegradation.
Many parts of the country still use Banana leaves as plates which is highly recommended. Plastic containers can be replaced with glass/steel containers which can be purchased locally and reused for a long time and are equally durable. In case it is not possible to carry a reusable container everywhere, you can also opt for compostable and biodegradable wooden cutlery. Edible and environment-friendly utensils* which are made using healthy grains such as millets and wheat can also be used for short-term purposes. Disposable / Biodegradable plates are made from Areca Leaves and Bamboo and serve the purpose with equal efficiency. Areca nuts tree leaf plate is made of completely organic material, which is a fallen leaf collected from areca palm trees. Palm Leaf plates are made by Mother Nature from the naturally fallen Areca Palm tree leaves.
*Project Patradya: They are a student-led initiative by Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College, and supported by The Enactus Group, Project Patradya addresses the issue of plastic waste disposal. Their edible and environment-friendly utensils are similar to Bakey’s, and are made using healthy grains such as millets and wheat. The products have been certified by FSSAI and an NABL accredited lab. The initiative employs women from the Afghan refugee community, settled in the Bhogul district of Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi, and teaches them to make biodegradable spoons, cups, and bowls. The inclusion of the refugee ladies is a step to financially empower the community.
*Bakey’s: Narayana Peesapaty’s sustainable solution to reduce use of plastic cutlery is simple. Cutlery made with millet, rice, and wheat. Once you’re done eating with these grain-based crisp spoons and forks, you can simply munch on them. And if you're not in the mood, toss them in the bin or compost pit, they will decompose within a week. This cutlery is sturdy enough to eat hot dishes and is free of preservatives. Plus, they come in a variety of flavours and can stay in your pantry for up to three years.
Bakeys is an Indian edible cutlery manufacturing startup company based in Hyderabad, Telangana. Bakeys was founded in 2010 by former ICRISAT researcher Narayana Peesapaty as an eco-friendly alternative to disposable utensils prepared with plastic, wood and bamboo, such as bamboo chopsticks
LEDs are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting options – 95% of the energy in LED’s is converted into light and only 5% is wasted as heat. They also use much less power, which lowers the power demand on power plants and decreases the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions. Other than LEDs, Solar energy** lighting solutions must also be explored.
**Solar energy: Generation of solar energy has tremendous scope in India. The geographical location of the country stands to its benefit for generating solar energy. The reason being India is a tropical country and it receives solar radiation almost throughout the year, which amounts to 3,000 hours of sunshine. This is equal to more than 5,000 trillion kWh. Almost, all parts of India receive 4-7 kWh of solar radiation per sq metres. This is equivalent to 2,300–3,200 sunshine hours per year. States like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, and West Bengal have great potential for tapping solar energy due to their location. Since the majority of the population live in rural areas, there is much scope for solar energy being promoted in these areas. Use of solar energy can reduce the use of firewood and dung cakes by rural households. Many large projects have been proposed in India, some of them are: i).Thar Desert of India has best solar power projects, estimated to generate 700 to 2,100 GW, ii). The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) launched by the Centre is targeting 20,000 MW of solar energy power by 2022, iii).Gujarat’s pioneering solar power policy aims at 1,000 MW of solar energy generation, and Rs. 130 billion solar power plan was unveiled in July 2009, which projected to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020. Apart from above, about 66 MW is installed for various applications in the rural area, amounting to be used in solar lanterns, street lighting systems and solar water pumps, etc. Thus, India has a massive plan for Solar Energy generation that may not only fulfill the deficit of power generation but also contribute largely in Green Energy Production to help to reduce the Climatic Changes globally.
Ball pens made from recycled bottles cycles the waste generation and lessens it. Cardboard and wooden pencils/pens cause less harm to the environment and produce less waste. Ink pens are the most sustainable as they can be filled as many times as you want and can go on for years.
Cloth and jute bags aren't only reusable, planet-friendly but also come in beautiful designs and styles opening up an entire range to select from!
That was Fridays For Future India’s take on sustainable local household products.
If you know other options that we can explore and empower local producers while keeping the planet happy, tell us in the comment section below and don't forget to subscribe to the newsletter!
- Esha Sharma, Avanthika and Falguni