Go Eco-Friendly with ‘Seed Rakhis’ by Nitin Vas (an Alumnus of St Aloysius College, Mangaluru), this Raksha Bandhan, for a Cleaner & Greener India
Mangaluru: “Raksha Bandhan” is that time of the year when the eternal bond between a brother and sister is cherished and celebrated. From tying colourful rakhi to buying exquisite gifts and planning surprises, it’s a much looked-forward-to Indian festival. While gifts are generally used or treasured, and chocolates are eaten almost instantly, rakhis mostly end up in landfills. And, since most of the threads sold in the market today are made of plastic, it produces a negative effect on the environment as well as the food chain. Most of the rakhis sold in the Indian market tend to be made of plastic. This year Raksha Bandhan, is tomorrow, 3 August 2020!
According to a report published by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in 2017, an estimated 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste is generated in India every day This translates to a per capita consumption of 11 kilogrammes of plastic on an average. And rakhis definitely contribute to this mess, considering that crores of Indians celebrate Raksha Bandhan every year. But, here in Dakshina Kannada, a young man is trying hard to reduce such waste which is destroying the environment, in his attempts to bring a green change by producing plastic-free plantable ‘Seed Rakhi’ this Raksha Bandhan. Made of indigenous and organic cotton thread, the rakhis are embedded with various kinds of fruits and flower seeds, to name a few like- tomato, cucumber, capsicum, tulasi, and the like, that can be grown into trees.
Meet ‘Paper Seed’ founder Nitin Vas of Pakshikere, on the outskirts of Mangaluru, entrepreneurship which is two-years-old now, making eco-friendly products and providing green solutions. His entrepreneurship in a rural area has provided permanent employment to six persons and indirect employment to many artisans. An alumnus of St Aloysius College, Mangaluru, speaking to Team Mangalorean, Nitin Vas said that Paper Seed has sold about one lakh seed papers having a variety of seeds in the past two years, and they have been made only from recycled papers. This social entrepreneurship of Vas has made ‘paper seed rakhis’ for Raksha Bandhan and has also made some terracotta ‘rakhis’ having seeds.
‘Paper Seed’ also makes eco-friendly jewellery, earrings, keychain, ladles, cups from coconut shells, driftwood sculptures, baskets from locally available creepers and climbers. Some of the other products include seed pens, bamboo toothbrush, designed paper mache, seed paper notepad, paper straw, recycled paper cards, newspaper seed pencils, organic agarbatti, and the like. Vas further said, “All our products are plastic-free, and we have made ‘rakhis’ from seed paper and terracotta for the first time. In both the ‘rakhis’, the seeds are hidden in the pendants made from paper pulp and terracotta. Until today, we have made over 2,000 seed paper ‘rakhis’ and 500 terracotta rakhis, for the forthcoming Rakhi Bandhan- and being our first attempt making paper seed rakhis, we limited our production to a certain quantity”.
It should be noted that ‘Paper seed’ made 11,000 seed paper flags for Independence Day in 2019, and for this year’s Independence Day, they are all geared up to make seed paper flags. Vas said that Sahaya, a Hyderabad-based non-government organisation, and many other volunteers have helped in marketing its products, all handmade. Like others, COVID-19 has also hit its marketing badly affecting artisans. In addition to using social media for marketing, it has adopted the community connect approach to market the products of artisans. And today, a day prior to Raksha Bandhan, Spar Hyper Market in City Centre Mall, Mangaluru has provided Nitin with an opportunity to promote his eco-friendly Rakhis- so all you readers stop by at Spar, and patronize ‘Paper Seed’ by buying the seed rakhis, thereby helping towards a cleaner and greener Mangaluru. This ‘Raksha Bandhan’, show your love for your brother with eco-friendly rakhis
Nitin Vas had done his early schooling at NITK High School (earlier known as KREC) in Surathkal and later completed his college in B Com at St Aloysius College, Mangaluru. After doing his Bachelor of Fine Arts at a University in Mysuru, and couple other courses in the same field, he worked for an Ambulance Service in Dubai from 2011-2016- and coming back for good, he started his social entrepreneurship in 2017- and since its inception, it has attained support and success from all quarters.
Since every year, when nearly 620 million rakhis are dumped as waste that never decomposes, and as a result, a whopping 1.18 billion tonnes of carbon footprints are generated, it’s nice to note Nitin is playing his role in reducing pollution through his unique efforts. The essence of ‘Paper Seed’ was to sell indigenous and original gifting items to people. Vas simply kept building on this unique creation and he hopes that seed rakhis will turn out to be one of their most special creations.
The idea behind creating these plastic-free seed rakhis was to promote a green Raksha Bandhan among people. During festivals like Diwali and Holi, there is a lot of talk about saying no to crackers, using clay diyas, natural colours and so on. So, why not apply the same thought process during Raksha Bandhan? Besides, planting a seed in the soil and watching it mushroom into a sapling, then mature into a tree is symbolic of the ever-growing relationship between a brother and a sister. Kudos to Nitin Vas for his unique idea and creation, for the betterment of Clean & Green Environment. And remember, Products like seed rakhis have a dual purpose. Not only do they symbolise the bond between siblings, but also bring about an awareness in the community with regard to good environmental practices.
Apart from his six full-time staff, Nitin has procured and distributed the material required to make the rakhis and then trained the women in the village to handcraft them. His initiative aimed at providing rural women with opportunities and financially empower them should be appreciated and commended. Come Independence Day 2020, Vas has come up with various creations in the form of flags etc, thereby planting the seeds for a greener future with eco-friendly products. Traditional rakhis are embedded with stones and glitter, marking them quite useless once the celebrations are over. These rakhis are made with seeds of fruits and flowers. A ‘Seed Rakhi’ can be sown and grown into plants, helping India, including Mangaluru, become greener and cleaner. Let’s Go ECO-FRIENDLY TYING SEED RAKHIS ON RAKSHA BANDHAN ON 3 AUGUST! Happy Raksha Bandhan to You all in advance!