Last week I went to Ranchi in Jharkand to our friend’s daughter’s engagement ceremony. It was a lovely celebration in so many ways, but it was also an interesting place to examine…you guessed it! Plastic!
As with weddings, there is a great deal of excess and waste at an engagement ceremony. For starters, the mehendi comes in plastic toothpaste-like tubes. There are loads of gifts from sweets to flowers to fruits to saris, all of which come wrapped in plastic. And, then, of course there are the decorations and food. I was surprised to see plastic flowers at this event, which I guess means they can be reused (or at least I hope they can). There were also a number of plastic items with the food: straws for coconut water and plastic cups for sweets. The spoons for eating the sweets, which appeared to be metal, were actually plastic, too. While all this sharing of food and giving of gifts is nice, it just makes me wonder how necessary it all is and whether or not people can let go a bit and rethink such rites of passage.
There are a number of stories in India from the past year or so about people having green or Zero Waste weddings. Here are a few to inspire readers: