Walk into Mar Thoma Church on Primrose Road in Bengaluru, and a Christmas tree standing tall at the gate welcomes you.
What is unusual about a Christmas tree in a church in the month of December, you ask? However, the 25-feet tall green tree, covered with twinkling lights, is made of used cardboard boxes. This is because the members of the church believe that "every object should be given a second life."
Nearly three hundred used cardboard boxes and the effort of close to 20 members for a period of three weeks have gone into the making of the eco-friendly tree.
The church is also decorated with 22 hand-made wreaths, made of used vegetable sacks and bamboo that were collected from various markets across the city.
The church has a nine year old tradition of keeping Christmas eco-friendly. While the first year saw an 8-feet tree made of motorcycle tyres, the members experimented with a number of items including waste cloth, plastic bottles and cassette tapes in the later years.
After the celebrations are over and the 25-feet tree is brought down to the ground, every item that the tree is made of, is sent to recycling units.
Daniel Thomas - a member of the church - who is one of the people behind the initiative recounts how they decided to make a drastic shift from the conventional Christmas trees nearly a decade ago.
"Until then, just like anyone else, we would also buy a conventional Christmas tree. But that year, we felt that we should do something different. It began with the idea that we wanted to get together and make a tree on our own. The idea to make the tree out of waste items then followed," says Daniel, who works in an advertisement agency in the city.
Rev. Dr Sham P. Thomas, Vicar of the Church, says that the initiative came at a time when not many people were aware of environment conservation and that the church has always tried to communicate such values to its pupils.