THE CROAK is a weekly environmental newsletter put out by the eCoexist team. It is the voice of the environment on its last legs, the final croak that can either be a plea for attention or a call of triumph as the frogs jump out of the well of ignorance and denial.

Beyond Clay : Coming full circle

16 years after we began work on the Eco Ganesh campaign, we are now stepping further towards our vision of a totally zero waste festival. 

With a ban now on Plaster of Paris idols, we expect that  more and more people will turn to use of soils and clays. Yet clay is a non renewable resource and there is an even better solution - to reuse the clay !

The PUNARAVARTAN clay recycling campaign launched by eCoexist in 2020 - had a resounding success in 2023 when we were able to collect nearly 23000 kgs of clay in partnership with so many organisations in Pune. It was also launched in Pimpri, Thane and Nasik.

The clay we collected was returned to the artisans in Pune and Pen who have created an entirely fresh range of idols with it. This minimises the fresh clay being mined each year for this festival. 

In addition to these RENEWED clay idols, we also have cow dung, paper mache and red earth idols along with hand sculpted miniatures from Karnataka. We proudly present to you the artisans we work with , whose sincere effort has made this shift in the festival possible. 


So Plaster of Paris has been banned. What are the alternatives? Each of the alternatives have to be carefully considered as each has an impact - so its pros and cons need to be weighed. 

Natural clay is a non renewable resource that is mined and create its own ecological damage. So the next step is to ensure we reduce the use of this clay too..

RENEWED CLAY - To counter the increase in use of natural clay that is expected when PoP is stopped, last year we launched a process of recollection and recycling of natural clay after the visarjan is complete. This will ensure that fresh stocks of clay are not mined and that a closed loop is created with the same clay. We have nine designs this year made from such renewed clay - we call them the Punaravartan series. We have kept them free of all paint -  using only multani mitti to finish them and decorations made of threads alone. 

To read more about the Punaravartan campaign and to know how you can return your clay after visarjan , visit the campaign website at

RED EARTH - is soil taken from agricultural land that can easily be put back where it was taken from and retains its fertility as it is not baked. Plants and trees can be grown in this soil which is not as clayey in consistency. The concern here is that we should ensure that we do not use fertile top soil for sculpture... 

COW DUNG - Recently some artisans have started using cow dung for the Ganesh idols - this is a completely biodegradable material that also adds value to soil when it is immersed and put into a garden. Our cowdung idols this use a soft pastel pallette of natural colours. 

PAPER MACHE - Paper mache is another material that is a good alternative to both PoP and Natural clay - it is used along with natural glues and can endure several years of use. When immersed in water it dissolves and the sludge is biodegradable. 

Order your Ganesh idols today

Here is another way to minimise your impact - go small! 

The idea that each year we need to have idols that are larger than the previous year leads to an increasing demand for large idols - larger idols are most appropriate for Sarvajanik community celebrations - but at home our miniature Ganeshas hand decorated will win your heart. 

In Hindu philosophy - it is not the physical size of the idol you worship but the largess of your heart that matters more ! As we reduce our dependence on the outer visible form - we start to sense the presence of Ganesh within ourselves. This also ensures that our rituals do not damage Nature!


From 20 May to 15 June we are offerring an EARLY BIRD discount of 5% for all Pre Orders recieved during this month. Your early orders will help us support the artisans with advances to help them continue the production process and reassure them of a market for their work. 

Use the Coupon Code earlybird5 when you place your order to get a 5% discount on your purchase! 

This year we are collecting payments via our UPI id ecoexist-4@okhdfcbank - pl send us proof of your payment at [email protected] so that we may confirm your order after you place the order on our website
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The Croak is a weekly environmental newsletter put out by the eCoexist team. It is the voice of the environment on its last legs, the final croak that can either be a plea for attention or a call of triumph as the frogs jump out of the well of ignorance and denial. Satirical, urgent and wise the newsletter brings to your attention, topics of global environmental relevance as well as emerging encouraging alternatives. Put together by a team of passionate Nature lovers, The Croak hopes to look at the environmental crisis in its face. It is a tool to reconnect readers to Nature, through questioning and self reflection. To understand the outer environment as a reflection of our own inner state, individually and as a species. And to take responsibility for enabling change.
If you would like to contribute articles on ecology consciousness and sustainability please get in touch with us.

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