Indian festival honoring siblings debuts tree-growing tradition

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In Rajasthan, biodegradable rakhis—ornaments given by sisters to brothers to celebrate the sibling bond—containing plant seeds can be purchased for this year’s Raksha Bandhan festival.

Artisans from The Ficci Ladies Organisation and Indibni have made thousands of the rakhis.

“Every year, 620 million rakhis are dumped in waste that never decomposes, generating 1.18 billion tonnes of carbon footprints,” Nitin Jain, Indibni cofounder, tells Hindustan Times. “This made us ponder and it took us two years of intense research and hard work to bring ‘SeedRakhi’ into existence. Around 60 crore people celebrate Raksha Bandhan across the world each year, but no one has ever thought about where does the rakhi end up after the grand celebration?”

Traditional rakhis often include stones, glitter, and other non-biodegradable waste. SeedRakhis instead include seeds for sunflower, amaltas, papaya, rice and basil that can be planted once the festival is over.