Many Americans are participating in the Green movement—doing things like reducing, reusing, and recycling. Well, this isn’t something that only happens in developed countries. Many, many Africans reuse items, although I think it’s more often due to a lack of and not so much a concern for the environment. For example, check out AfriGadget. On the blog post that pulls up, someone used the soles of flip-flops as door hinges. Creative.
Here in Accra, within walking distance of where we live, there’s a company that’s reusing drink and ice cream plastic sachets. Yes, water and ice cream sometimes come in small, plastic bags here. The company is called Trashy Bags. I kept passing signs pointing down streets with these words on it, wondering if it was a dump or what. One of my missionary friends loves the place and cleared up my confusion. Trashy Bags pays people who collect the sachets from the streets. The bags then go through a thorough cleaning and decontamination process. The sachets are sewn together using old, manual Singer sewing machines to create many different products like totes, backpacks, messenger bags, brief cases, sports bags, and many other items. By using different packages, the final products are different colors. They have pockets, zippers, and everything that you’d expect from a quality bag not made out of trash. I recently visited the business and bought a small change purse. The sign you see above was hanging on the wall, and I learned that it hung in New York City at one point. Trashy Bags doesn’t sell much product locally, but there seems to be a market for it with tourists and overseas. In fact, Japan is buying large quantities of their products, and I’ve found several UK sites advertising and selling Trashy Bags. What an awesome way to employ people and help the environment!