Is sustainability in your DNA? While most beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brands are turning a blind eye to their carbon footprint, there are a few eco-conscious brands that are working against the grain with their product, packaging, and ethos. Sustainability is their mantra, and it isn’t just a business model for these folks. While we’re taking baby steps toward upping our eco-friendly game this year — working on lessening packaging waste, ensuring we use glass bottles for water in-store and at work — we’re putting some of the brands leading the way in the sustainable game in the spotlight. We love these guys and we think you will too.
Bangalore is miles ahead the rest of India in the race towards sustainability. Further strengthening the cause is the personal and home care brand, Bare Necessities, the brainchild of zero waste lifestylist Sahar Mansoor. Mansoor grew up amidst trees and the outdoors thanks to her nature-loving father, which meant her childhood was a clarion call to a sustainable lifestyle in the future. It was only in college though, studying environmental planning, policy, and law that she considered making the environment her full-time gig.
Mansoor’s been entirely waste-free since 2015, which is no easy feat (think about how much waste you’ve generated just today), and it was after she hit this milestone that she launched Bare Necessities, an eco-conscious brand that uses ingredients that are zero waste and ethically sourced. Her products range from steel straws and reusable snack bags to personal and home care products that are as gentle on your skin (and homes) as they are on the Earth. Think fortifying coconut oil (a self-professed favourite ingredient), fragrant lemongrass, lime for nasty grit and grime, woody notes of cinnamon, and fruity orange for fragrance, and that’s just to name a few.. All her products are packaged in reusable glass jars with labels that are crafted with recycled paper and the detergents are stashed in little cloth bags that take about 90 days to compost. If you’re a regular customer you can also return your glass jars for a discount on your next lot of products.
Head to her website (she delivers pan-India) to stock up on nature’s goodies, but if you’d like to sample her products in person, she retails at select stores across the country that match her brand ethos — Clove in Bombay, Go Native and Happy Healthy Me in Bangalore, Sacha’s Shop in Goa, Naushad Ali in Pondicherry, Sayog in Mysore, and Free Living in Calcutta. Read about zero waste travel with Sahar here.
This for That
Swap till you drop
Waste is so last season. It is with this thought that Nancy Bhasin launched This for That (TFT), an app that revives the age-old barter system. On This for That, women can open up their closets to other women and swap garments, shoes, bags, or cosmetics that are otherwise unused. Bhasin’s dislike of fast fashion, spending oodles of money on clothes that hang unworn, and gifts that aren’t really welcome led her to break this cycle of consumerism. Meant to be a shared resource, TFT pitches in with putting together an impressively streamlined wardrobe, and works with ‘credits’ that can be used to swap items when a straightforward barter doesn’t work out.
After spending eight odd years in advertising churning out marketing strategy and retail campaigns, Bhasin’s cashed in on her knowledge of the fashion industry and paired it with her desire to minimise waste. Download the app and you’ll find a strong brand language that’s telling of her advertising past and her husband, Vaybhav Singh’s (very seasoned) creative flair.
She’s relaunched the app with a new and improved version in February 2018, and we’re inclined to believe that swapping is the new shopping.
A fresh perspective on waste
Would you like to keep tons of organic waste out of the landfill? In that case, compost! The folks at Daily Dump are helping us reimagine our relationship with the Earth, with each other, and with urban spaces. This design-led brand builds products that aid in creating and maintaining a decentralised waste management system with a range of segregation products, composters, powders, seeds, and biodegradable bags.
All you need to do is set up one of their commercial compost pits in your home, office, or garden and dump all your leftovers and organic waste into these pits, which over a period of time (aided by their composting powder) turns into manure that you can use or donate to a farmer.
Set up by Poonam Bir Kasturi, Daily Dump is the outcome of twenty years of learning about product design and designing pieces for homes and other commercial spaces. With Daily Dump she’s eliminating the taboo of working with waste while making every individual responsible for what they consume and discard. Do what we’re doing; consume less, discard smart.
A green alternative to nasty plastic
A pharmacologist by profession, Rhea Singhal grew up in Dubai and London before moving back to India in 2009. It was then that she was confronted with a paradox of sorts; the craving for healthy organic food coupled with a general disregard of what the food is packaged in. The benefits of a healthy meal were continually negated by the toxicity of plastic-ridden, chemical-laden packaging and that baffled Singhal.
With the desire to create safe and healthy food packaging that is available locally, she launched Ecoware in 2009. Crafted from plant biomass (the leftover crop after wheat, rice, or sugarcane has been processed), Ecoware’s disposable tableware, cutlery, garbage bags and takeaway packaging is entirely biodegradable, compostable, and economical. Plus, their neat looking product is well designed, can be put into a microwave, is waterproof, and features into every aspect of our lives with ease.
Singhal plans to expand operations with eco-friendly packaging for more sectors: industries and hospitals. The company takes pride in being responsible manufacturers, and Singhal’s passion for treading lightly on Mother Nature means we’re a fan of the brand, and we’re following suit.