As Indians, we're confronted with trash around us every day - on the streets, footpaths, open lands, etcetera. Overwhelmed by this trash problem, Sahar Mansoor, the founder of Bare Necessities, wanted to do something about all of it. Upon spending time with local waste pickers and watching them sort through waste with their bare hands, she discovered the environmental, health and social justice issues associated with our garbage problem. She then decided to stop being part of the problem and found the solution - to live a lifestyle that best reflected the values she cared about.

The zero-waste lifestyle is one that cares about the environment and the people in it. It is based on mindfulness and responsible living, that aims to minimize the use of plastic and other waste, by switching to eco-friendly alternatives. In doing so, one can lead a lifestyle that actively works towards a secure future for all. 

Bare Necessities was thus, founded to help address the trash problem by providing zero-waste alternatives for our everyday routines. It is a brand that aims to mirror the values of zero waste, ethical consumption and sustainability. Through its products and services, it strives to make mindful consumption accessible for people and encouraging others to produce less waste.

Bare Necessities believes in the importance of educating others on the importance of leading a zero-waste lifestyle. Through talks, workshops and its online course, it has helped educate more than 1.1 lakh people across the country, while diverting 29 million units of plastic from landfills, with its products! The online course, 'Zero Waste in 30,' is especially meant for people looking to kickstart a zero-waste lifestyle. It is a self-paced course on that provides a comprehensive understanding of this kind of lifestyle with detailed research and data, interviews with experts in various fields and over a dozen DIY videos to incorporate into one's daily life.

One of the biggest misconceptions of leading a sustainable lifestyle is the cost perspective. People assume that this lifestyle requires lots of money and expensive products alone. The reality however, is that it is a very cost-effective lifestyle as it offers several DIYs, tips and techniques around reusing up-cycling and more that saves you a lot of money.

Some easy zero-waste tips: 

  • Carry your own cutlery: As we slowly begin to step out, let us be mindful of our health and the environment by carrying our own cutlery and water bottles. In doing so, we can avoid the needless consumption of plastic alternatives.

  • Compost your food waste: Over the past few months we all must have spent a lot of time in our kitchens, and consequently generated scraps from vegetables, fruits and other food waste. All of this accounts for 60% of our home waste! Composting this can help divert food waste from landfills AND increase the fertility of our soil!

  • Make your own spa water: The next time you look to buy a flavored drink, think again. By adding some of your favorite fruits into your water, you have your very very own flavored water!

  • Carry your own snacks: For all your outdoor physical activities, carry your own snacks; fitness and granola bars often come in multi-layered plastic that is hard to recycle.

You can start your sustainable lifestyle with products from Bare Necessities here.

A quick Q&A with Sahar Mansoor, Founder of Bare Necessities.

1. What's the most rewarding aspect of your work?

As a social entrepreneur, it warms my heart every time I see people make changes in their lifestyle to be more mindful and inclusive. My day is always made every time a customer gets back to us to tell us about the positive impact our products or online course has had on their lives. Additionally, being in a community of like-minded entrepreneurs through formal and informal communities helps a lot. As friends and fellow entrepreneurs, we share the successes and the failures that make the entrepreneurship journey less isolating!   2. What's the most challenging aspect of your work?

One of the most challenging parts of my work in the early days used to be having people take you - a 24-year-old, female, solo founder - seriously.  Right from sourcing and creating products to handling GST, the sales channels and slowly building a team, I had to do it all single-handedly. All of it was quite a steep climb.  3. Your message to somebody who is just getting started on a zero-waste lifestyle.

I'd suggest anyone starting out on their zero-waste journey to first sit down and count the cost. Why are you doing it? Is it because you want to do something about the environment, climate change and the garbage crisis? When I first embarked on my zero-waste journey, I sat down with my grandma and had a conversation with her. She told me what she did before shampoo started being sold in plastic bottles. We can learn a lot from our Indian traditions which are actually rooted in ecological practices or what we now can call “zero waste practices”.  Begin by taking charge of your daily routines. For instance, when I ran out of my soap, instead of buying one from a store, I started experimenting. And, eventually, I learned how to make my own. It was just baby steps which I had taken. Rather than using store-bought cleansers, soaps or shampoos, I started making them at home with the help of valuable information from my Nani and my mom. Try to advocate minimalism on a daily basis. In doing so, we automatically generate less garbage, we seek quality over quantity, we save money while giving us the ability to slow down our lives and become more mindful of every single thing that we do and that we experience.  After all, less is more! 4. What's your favorite collection of products from Bare Necessities and why?

Since we're regularly coming out with new products, my favorites may not always remain a constant. However, I love using our Bare Necessities Busy Bee Lip Balm to keep my lips moisturized throughout the day. I also love using our Lavender Bath Salts to calm down the muscles after a long day. One of my recent favorites has been the Bare Coconut Bowl. I look forward to my morning smoothie bowls, which taste delicious and earthy in it!

5. One thing you love about Bangalore.

Bangalore has always held a special place in my heart. I love going for a good jog early in the mornings to take in the air and admire some of the greenery, especially around Central Bangalore. Another great trait about this city is the sense of community in the Bangalore startup ecosystem. People are more than happy to give you help and advice; if you only ask for it!  This has been a pleasant surprise along the way!