The global warming and climate change are no more limited to the fancy debates on social media but the entire world is facing its brunt at present. The increasing landfills due to massive production are also burdening the earth. This alarming situation is a clear indication that its time to move towards sustainable alternatives and one such organisation is 21fools in Rajasthan that works towards creating eco-friendly products without any machines.

On this Diwali, to combat the rising pollution and deforestation, they have rolled out crackers 'Beej Patakha' that grows into a plant. With this new offering, 21fools aim to give a new perspective to this festival.

In conversation with The EarthView, Founder of 21fools, Divyanshu Asopa speaks about the changing approach of people towards greeting cards and stationery. He also talks about their Diwali campaign Beej Patakha making a way into people’s lives as well as a new perspective to the festival.

"Beej Patakha is a concept introduced by 21fools which encourages people to buy seed crackers instead of explosives. This initiative also has a slogan “Barood Nahi Beej Chuno” that talks about how people should not burst crackers but grow them into plants. All you need to do is place them into a pot in your home balcony and water them regularly. Products like Microgreens Ladi contains 7 pairs of microgreen seeds which just simply separate each pair and sow them hence, they are ready in just a week for consumption," said Divyanshu

Firecrackers, one of the major highlights of Diwali often causes air and noise pollution. With reducing air quality in the country especially in Delhi-NCR, it is extremely dangerous to continue the usage of crackers. Secondly, with COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of patients who are infected with this virus often face issues with breathing, therefore crackers must be avoided.

Divyanshu added, “Crackers will be over in few seconds but beej Patakha will be there with you for a lifetime as they will grow into a beautiful tree, giving us life forever. 21Fools is giving a new perspective to the festival and a new light to future lying ahead of us."

21fools have also started a Diwali hamper, which has eco-friendly calendars, Diaries, Diya, and handmade soaps. “A festival doesn’t mean that we need to carry our rituals and customs as they were earlier. With changing times every festival needs to evolve to find a new meaning and how it is celebrated. In current times it is very important for us to teach sustainability to ourselves as well as our kids” said Divyanshu.

21fools, started in 2014 also produces biodegradable seeded paper, eco-friendly wedding cards etc. These biodegradable papers are made up of used cotton and hence grow in a pot once planted. They strongly believe in preserving the craftsmanship and engaging more and more people in their production, which leaves them rarely using machines.

“We do notice a change in the society. In today’s time, we see people having a conversation within their family about not opting plastic bags and segregation of waste, as well as less packaging option. There are behavioural changes that we can see, in how people are responding to global warming, it’s a slope for sure but it’s always better that people participate in these changes in big numbers on day to day basis to bring the change. We can’t be perfect all the time, we believe in handmade products and our paper isn’t perfect, the printing that happens is manual which makes it unique in its way and gladly our consumers do understand this” said Divyanshu Asopa

According to the report of Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (Global Forest Products Facts and Figures 2018), Paper and paperboard production increased over the period 2014–2018 from 404 million tonnes to 409 million tonnes.

An eco-friendly paper is a biodegradable version of the paper, which has a little carbon footprint and a bigger impact on the environment in the most positive manner. These are made up of used cotton and are 100% sustainable products, which have no effect on the environment thus giving back everything we take from nature.

21fools also focused more on handmade products and they believe in giving work opportunities to the people. During the challenging situations of the pandemic, they successfully generated work for more and more people including the production of handmade masks, which are made by self-help group women from villages. He also mentioned, “We face challenges of meeting deadlines and our product not matching the perfection of machines work as everything is done with hands. But these are the challenges we have opted for us.”

One of the workers at 21fools, Radha said “I have been working with them for 20 years now, I have never faced any problem working here. I wanted to work after having kids and they gave me the platform. I start my day at 9 am with segregation of cotton clothes cut out and keep them aside. Every single step in the process needs an individual to progress ahead."

Divyanshu also mentioned that awareness about sustainability is more in the younger generation as they are making eco-conscious choices. He said, "The most fascinating change which is initiated by today’s younger generation is our eco-friendly wedding cards as they have started to make conscious decisions. They understand that traditional wedding cards are going to be a waste, as it will be thrown out. It was something that happened on its own when we started with the cards. It was the brides actually who approached us to make the wedding cards.”

21Fools is making a difference in society by giving them a sustainable alternative, let's do our bit by saying no to firecrackers and go green with 'Beej Patakha'.

Written by: Nidhi Choudhary