I stumbled upon Niyyaati's profile (@gobble.cake) when we were having a discussion at work about how to avoid plastic, and our chefs mentioned I must check her work to take inspiration from how she does it.
Like many of my baker friends, Niyyaati and I have never met, but once you've spoken to her you will find a genuine warmth and honest efforts at being "sustainable." I remember wanting help on changing our packaging once and approaching someone who called themselves a "sustainability consultant." When we spoke - I realized what he meant was sustaining a business for a long time, which was far from the help that I was seeking. But spending 45 mins with Niyyaati on the phone gave me more practical ideas than I could have ever imagined and I instantly had the urge to document it.
She graciously agreed to answer these questions as a guest post on my blog and hasn't hid any of her knowledge. Even if you are not a business owner, this broadened perspective will get you thinking about the everyday life that you live - and Niyyaati and I both hope that the planet eventually benefits from this :)
1. What does sustainable living and sustainable business mean to you?
Co-existing with nature, never taking more than we need and always reminding ourselves that we’re not above nature, we’re merely ALLOWED to exist in it. I like to think that we’re extensions of mother nature and that if we can protect ourselves from any harm then why not her?
2. Can you give examples of sustainable living that go beyond paper straws, cloth bags and bamboo toothbrushes? What other small things can be done in daily life that isn't that obvious?
Water activated tape on Kraft paper boxes
Sustainable living isn’t a new concept, especially in India. Our mothers and grand mothers have lead a sustainable life and that is one of the many things we can learn from history. Milk came in glass bottles or were filled in their containers by the milkman, single bar of soap was used for all parts of the body, dishes were washed with coconut fibers, clothes were handed down for generations and new ones were only bought on special occasions, cloth was used instead of tissues and the list goes on.
3. Most people think that just one person doing it is just a drop in the ocean - how would you convince them?
Well, every drop counts and like everything in life, being patient is key. It’s easy to point fingers at people and tell them that what they’re doing isn’t impactful only because it is different from the general way of the world. You have to ignore the naysayers and continue to do what you believe in, regardless of the ridiculous trends and all the momentary fame and profit it brings with it. It is important to determine the consequences of your actions and the irreversible impacts it has on our planet. If I can convince or even make people question their choices the next time they pick up a single use plastic piping bag, I’d have done a good job!
4. I noticed you are a propagator of silicon piping bags, can you think of 5 more things that include in their daily business to make it sustainable?
Oh there are so many! I’ve picked up a lot of my kitchen practices from my mother. Watching her cook and clean has taught me so much. From closing a kadai/bowl with another plate that can further be used during lunch to reusing a single bowl for multiple dishes until it can finally be put into the sink. This ensures water conservation. Some of the other practices include using cotton napkins instead of tissues, storing cakes in big Tupperware boxes and not cling films, not using cake rings and aluminium foils, saving the scraps from cakes to make cake pops/cakesicles, buying raw materials in bulk and last but definitely not the least, packaging that doesn’t include any single use plastic!
5. How expensive and easily accessible are sustainable products?
Sustainability lies in its simplicity. The usage of bare minimum. Taking what you need. A box is what you need to transport a cake so we use completely natural Kraft paper boxes to do that but when you add a plastic window to the same box, you’ve now made it a trend or a want.
Silicon Piping bags instead of plastic ones
Same with piping bags, plastic piping bags are sold as “use and throw” bags to make the consumer’s life easy but who really bears the brunt of this culture? What might be less expensive in terms of money might be very expensive in terms of damage.
Today, Kraft boxes are about Rs.1/- to 3/- more expensive than a box with plastic window. This is due to mass production. Manufacturers will only manufacture products in trend in order to sustain their business. So the simple answer to this problem is to push through and be the person that believes that an ‘aesthetic cake box’ can be sacrificed for the betterment of this planet. Increase the demand for sustainable/simple products. Set long term goals. Buy in bulk.
Another example is bamboo tooth brushes. When it first came out, they were priced quite high but as time passed and people started to be more mindful, you can find bamboo tooth brushes for the same price as your colgate plastic brushes! All in all, sustainable products are not expensive. Yes, you might have to buy them in bulk but bulk has always meant reducing future costs/expenses so I think it’s a win-win!
6. What are your favorite sustainable brands to follow on social media or shop from in physical stores?
Gobble Cake! Hahah but jokes apart, I love to see more and more sustainable brands emerge in the market, here are a few that i follow and regularly buy from -
Tell us what more you do to follow a sustainable business and lifestyle, we'd love to add on!