Bangalore recently witnessed a wedding reception with a difference – one that did not add on to the pollution and waste in the city, but promoted green living instead. This was the wedding of Sowmya Reddy, the daughter of Karnataka’s Transport Minister, R Ramalinga Reddy.
Sowmya, a vegan animal rights activist and environmentalist, decided that her wedding would be the perfect place to practice and promote green living.
And the first step was to turn it into a zero-waste wedding. So, she stationed over 150 staff members of Hasiru Dala, a Bangalore-based organisation of trained waste-pickers, to make sure that waste got segregated at source, and no waste material got directed to the landfills.
“Sowmya wanted to make it as eco-friendly as possible. The food waste will go to a private biomethansation plant on Magadi Road. Dry waste will be taken to other collection centres. Our aim was to ensure there is no flower waste at all,” Marwan Abubaker, co-founder of Hasiru Dala told The Times of India.
The wedding reception was organised at Bangalore Main Palace on Thursday evening
Everything starting from decoration, to food and gifts, was planned in an eco-friendly manner. As Sowmya is vegan, the food menu was designed accordingly. No milk products like ghee, or curd were used by the caterers. Instead they went for coconut juice, soya bean milk, and soya bean yoghurt. If someone wanted coffee or tea at the reception, it was made from soya bean milk.
Plastic cups were replaced by steel and melamine cutlery, and decorations included flowers made of paper. Additionally, every guest went home with a beautiful return gift. They got saplings of plants like sandalwood, rosewood, mahogany, jackfruit and neem. Over 5,000 such saplings were bought from government nurseries in Bangalore.
“No gifts or bouquets”, said the invitation card. If people still bought bouquets, they were collected at the entrance. Even the invitation cards were made of recycled paper or were emailed.
“No guests attending the wedding will be wearing silk, leather or woollen products. None of the clothes being gifted to the relatives and family contain silk, wool or leather,” she told Bangalore Mirror.
The bride and groom’s attire was also in accordance with this practice, and cruelty-free cosmetics were used for makeup.
Hasiru Dala has trained its waste pickers in solid waste management and has been managing waste generated from events such as weddings and marathons since the last 2 years. They have been a part of about eight such weddings in the last one year, where they managed five tonnes of waste.