BANGALORE: When Meenakshi Bharath, a member of the Solid Waste Management Round Table, saw the video of a solid waste management expert's green wedding, she wished her daughter Kannika's wedding could be along the same lines. And last month, after about six weeks of planning, her wish came true.
"Luckily, the groom's family agreed to the idea too, and it went without any hiccups," says a glowing Meenakshi, who started tweeting about the wedding plans right in the first week of May.
And this was the second such wedding that she was a part of. "Earlier, in 2011, I did something similar for a friend's wedding," she shares. This time around, she had the cooperation of her colleague and co-founder of Solid Waste Management Round Table NS Ramakanth, who has tried his hand with the concept at seven or eight other weddings as well.
"But none were as successful as this one. Here, Meenakshi and I were at the same wavelength," he confides. Most other weddings, he says, have been of close friends or their families, but there he didn't always have complete control.
Eco-friendly weddings, the kind that the duo organises, involve e-invites, minimal use of disposable waste — paper or plastic cups and glasses, plastic covers, paper that is spread on tables and even bottled water. There's no trace of thermocol either. Instead, they use banana leaves, steel and melamine utensils and cutlery, the larger cans for mineral water, high quality plastic bags for tambulas (coconuts given to guests) with organic haldi, instead of the typical arishina-kumkuma (turmeric and vermillion) packets, and a jasmine sapling. At Kannika's wedding, there even were no tissues. Guests used cloth napkins painted on by autistic children from the school she teaches at — Academy for Severe Handicaps and Autism (ASHA). The food and kitchen waste, as well as the flowers used for decoration or bouquets, were sent to piggeries and composted respectively.
"At home, we use reusable products, but disposables at weddings have become a fad," declares Meenakshi.
However, she firmly believes, even as the garbage crisis is snowballing, that not only should individuals try to produce recyclable waste, but that they should also try and reduce the waste produced.
Ramakanth puts it slightly differently: "It's all very easy to blame the BBMP for the garbage crisis. Well, now there's also the concept of ISR — Individual Social Responsibility. We have to keep that in mind."
The wedding, which produced only about 5 kgs of disposable waste, was also economical, say both members of the special interest group. "For a festive meal like a wedding lunch, there are usually about nine items that are disposable: two plastic cups, a bottle of water, a pheni or sweet plate, a few plastic glasses and the like, which cost up to `35 per person." Their alternatives, they claim, came up to `15 per plate.
Coming weekend, they are all set to see a colleague's wedding through in a similar fashion. Those interested in celebrating occasions in a green manner can get in touch with N S Ramakanth on 9741401906 or Meenakshi Bharath on 9845011757.