Sustaining Sustainable: A Refash Manual to Plastic-Free Living

We spoke to the founders of some of our favourite upcycling brands listed on Refash for their approach to a minimum plastic lifestyle. These are real-life superheroes who’ve built brands around their empathy and responsibility towards the environment, guiding you to not only follow in their footsteps but also sustain it. For those of you that love lists, you’re in for a treat -  we’ve cut the fluff and we mean business. As #PlasticFreeJuly comes to an end, here’s hoping we can all lead by example one informed decision at a time. There’s no time like the present!

Identify a Greenwash

“Sincere efforts by brands can be recognised if they encourage you to ask questions about what you're buying.”, says Kamna Tripathy, founder Noupelle.

With a boost in Gen Z’s ‘woke’ culture, honest intention is being overshadowed by brands with deeper pockets and a knack for flashy campaigns. Watch out for misleading terms like ‘recyclable materials’ which often make up a measly percentage in the composition of a potential purchase. Do your research diligently- Aneesha Reddy suggests looking at brands that implement a holistic sustainable approach. “I can see it through their brand story, ingredients, creation process, packaging, employment policy and more.”

Learning is a Lifelong Process

We are what we consume. In a generation that heedlessly absorbs more information than ever before, seek out what fits your purpose. Dedicate time in your day to actively engage your mind, just like you would another activity. “Increase your knowledge and resources by reading articles and books, and by joining, following and supporting sustainable communities.”, says Diti, founder Théla.

Pen it Down

Follow a mindful process rooted in intention to have greater success at a fundamental shift.  Esha Agarwal of Chambray & Co. shares a helpful checklist to follow along:

- Write down why you’re making the change to a plastic-aware life. This will make it feel more real to you. Then place it somewhere you will see it often to act as a reminder.

- Make a list of the products you purchase that contain plastic. This is the first step towards finding plastic-free alternatives.

-Then choose the three easiest products for you to replace and make a plan to buy alternatives. 


We can’t emphasise enough. “Reusable Reusable Reusable - the simplest way to start is by carrying your own water bottle and shopping bags.”, KiRu founders make a case for the very backbone of the sustainability model. “Do not throw things away just because they are not eco-friendly or because they are made of plastic in order to replace them with sustainable alternatives. I understand the eagerness to go minimal or zero waste or plastic free but the most sustainable practice is using what you already have.”, says Diti.

Diti Kotecha
(Diti Kotecha, founder Théla)

Tried, Tested and True

The best way going forward is looking back. Take a page out of the Indian grandmother’s book on all things homely and quality over quantity. “While we rarely ordered food from outside for the plastic containers to be eventually collected back at home, we did tend to buy some plastic storage years ago. The first thing I remember doing was replacing them all with good steel boxes and tiffins. Then came the use of cloth and paper bags to carry our groceries, reusing glass bottles to store water and milk, and using newspaper for cleaning and wrapping items to be stored in the fridge or to clean our windows.”, elaborates Sonal Shroff of Aion Homes

Slowly Does It

“I read Bea Johnson’s book, Zero Waste Home in which she speaks about transitioning from being extremely firm and non-flexible in her approach to gradually starting to take it easy. I realised the value of not getting too daunted, doing my best, letting go of the rest and most importantly, enjoying the journey. Only then is it going to be a lifestyle shift and not a passing attempt.

Every time I would run out of a particular product, I would ask –  Do I really need it? If I didn’t, I let it go and if it was essential, I researched and purchased the plastic-free alternative.”, explains Diti.

Motivational speakers and life coaches alike swear by this last one. You know it, now put it into action and ease into a life you choose to live. Let’s take pride in persistent effort shaping wholesome beings on a path to true fulfilment.


Feature Credit - Simran Khera

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