In MESH we have been thinking again about gifting and what we would like to be offering our customers. A consistent thought is how to keep gifting eco-friendly. The world is full of rubbish tips, the rivers and oceans running with plastic, we want to try and avoid adding to that. We have made a good start this year four ways:
1. Offer gifts that have been made by hand with the very least amount of use of fossil fuels.
Our handspun and hand woven eri silk scarves are an example. When we did an environmental impact assessment some years ago we found that fossil fuels were only used in heating water for the dying process and then the final calendaring. Hand spinning and hand weaving uses no electricity and produces such wonderful, long lasting products.
A set of handwoven cotton napkins with pretty tatted coasters are another example. The cotton, it is true, uses a lot of water to grow but the weaving is all manual as are the coasters.
2. We try to reuse or reduce waste
This year for diwali we offered nuts in glass jars that can be reused and presented them in gift bags made from waste saris which can also be used again for personal storage or as gift bags for another gift.
We also have some very exclusive, handmade tea light holders made from waste paper. They are lovely artistic pieces and because they are non-seasonal, can be used again and again for any season wherever a tea light is needed.
3. Natural, not synthetic materials
In MESH we love, cotton and jute because they are natural fibers so this year we were especially happy to see these lovely jute “Shubh Labh” hangings for Diwali.
Our Christmas decoration range is most often papier-mâché from Kashmir. Balls and bells are made from waste paper pulp. Unbreakable and so long lasting, and most beautifully hand painted, each one potentially a little family heirloom.
4. Packaging is always a challenge
I was in a specialist tea store a while back and was dazzled by the beautiful packaging. The teas were in tin or glass jars but then they were in cardboard boxes, which will quite simply be thrown away, they have no other use. That is what we are trying to avoid.
We have made hampers of smaller gifts nestling in a tea tray and tied Furoshiki style, with a wrapping cloth which can be reused to wrap gifts again.
We have also made hampers of smaller hand woven and handmade products in a keepsake box which can be used for safe keeping of precious mementos.
We have up-cycled sari gift bags and gift wrap for sale in the shop in the hope that our customers will choose them instead or paper or shiny gift wrap.
If you would like to make gifting about nice gifts and reducing negative impact on the environment then please do drop into MESH store in Uday Park Market, New Delhi. Also look out for our gifting catalogue due out soon which will be online and allow you to choose lovely handmade gifts for any occasion which will help keep people with disabilities in gainful employment and which are better options for the environment too.
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