Every year for Raksha Bandhan, we buy colourful and unique rakhis for our brothers or sisters. However, once the threads are cut after a few months, the rakhi is disposed of. If the band or the centrepiece is made of plastic or any other non-biodegradable material, it will stay in the landfills forever.
So with the festival only a month away, set to arrive on August 22, why not purchase something that’s pretty and eco-friendly at the same time? From terracotta and jute to handmade crocheted, here are five places to buy eco-friendly rakhis.
Terracotta By Sachii
Born during the pandemic, this brand was launched by Sachii Tripathi, a postgraduate of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad to support traditional pottery artisans in Kutch.
Last year, when she reached out to a few artisans to offer monetary help, she realised they did not require financial support, but needed to work and to be able to sell their products. To provide them with regular markets and exhibitions to showcase their craft, Sachii started an online platform to sell creations.
Today, five different craft clusters benefit from her initiative and she hopes to expand to more.
The products on her website include terracotta-based plates, mugs, and rakhis, among others.
The rakhis are made by hand, not baked, and have small designs carved on top. Apart from separate rakhis, there are gift boxes that include candy and a terracotta mug.
Ethnic La Reina
Soumita Chanda (35), a resident of Kolkata, makes handmade jewellery such as earrings and necklaces. For raksha bandhan she is making rakhis using jute thread, wood, rice and dal to celebrate the festival in a sustainable manner.
The thread is knitted into a circular pattern and various designs are made for the centrepiece using a number of elements. Some rakhis have floral designs made from cowrie shells and there is also one with a bird made using wood.
While Soumita is in the process of making more designs, she is also open to taking customised orders. However, the order will have to be placed eight days before delivery.
If you wish to contact her, visit her Facebook page.
21 Fools is a platform that manufactures and sells products made by farmers and artisans in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Their beej rakhis are made by crocheting naturally-dyed hand-spun organic cotton yarn. They are embedded with seeds of native vegetables such as pumpkin, amaranthus, purslane, basil seeds and more. After prolonged use, instead of throwing them away, you can plant them in your garden and watch them grow.
Their packaging is done using waste cotton, which is 100% biodegradable.
Their rakhis are priced between Rs 350 and Rs 400, and are available for preorders now.
Terracotta rakhi with pictures
Oye Happy, well-known for its customised gifting options, has launched a new range of rakhis, which include simple ones made with thread as well as gold-plated designer ones. Their latest offering is customised terracotta rakhis that comes with a picture of your loved one as the centrepiece.
All you have to do is share the photo of your loved one while placing an order. This will be printed and stuck to the centre and covered with a glass dome. To make this rakhi extra special, Oye Happy also provides a magnet that you can stick behind the rakhi once you are done wearing it. This can be placed on the fridge or anywhere you wish.
The rakhis are priced at Rs 340 but there are discounts if you order them as a set. Visit their website to know more.
Crocheted rakhis by Samoolam
These rakhis are handmade by a team of rural women in Gaya, Bihar. They handcraft multi-coloured yarns into interesting shapes of natural elements like birds, animals, flowers, and more. To keep up with modern trends, they even knit designs of emojis.
Each rakhi will come as a set in a crocheted pouch, along with kumkum, rice and chocolate.
Samoolam was launched in 2012 by Usha Prajapati, a native of Gaya and a graduate of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. The products sold over the platform are made by over 100 women in her hometown who earn a livelihood through the venture.
The rakhis are priced between Rs 880 and Rs 1,200. To place an order for their rakhis, visit their website.