There are many stories we can hear about rags to riches but stories of garbage to riches are very few. While in Payatas, main dumpsite in Manila, Philippines it is true. Filipino waste pickers are turning trash into high fashion income after joining forces with a designer to produce market or grocery bags and rugs from scraps of cloth collected at garbage landfills. A community of women in Payatas, Manila’s main garbage dumpsite for years, were inspired by a local fashion designer and partnered with him in making bags, clutches, yoga mat case, and mat rugs in mass production. Then the history unfolds for the merging, and it became a successful one. The community of women garbage pickers became successful entrepreneurs, and they formed an enterprise called Rags2Riches, a well-known organization in Payatas area, Philippines.
Years ago, the message of environment to people to live a healthier and wealthier life by going green is not appealing but now that same message has been the talk of the town and more and more people regardless of age and ethnicity knew how important it is to live a healthier life by choosing and going green for life. The story of people in Payatas who literally picks garbage, recycle and upcycle them with the help of a local fashion designer now made their way to the business world and became successful entrepreneurs. This successful story started with a single idea of recycling garbage in a dumpsite, which for years have been their homes.
As a responsible citizen who has the capacity to think for ways to help save the environment, and turn an idea into action, here’s what you can do for the environment:
- Know and calculate you carbon footprint. I don’t own a car so I expect that my carbon footprint is very low. I recycle if I can, and I buy green products if available in my local market.
- Know and find your “Latte Factor”. Train yourself not to buy coffee in a disposable cup or water in a plastic bottle. You can save few bucks by doing so, and your small act is helping to save the planet.
- If you own a car, make sure your car get its proper maintenance. When it comes to getting a new car, miles per gallon matters. Consider walking for short distance travel instead of car trips.
- Invest green. Socially responsible investing will be the next big thing to happen. The “green wave” now comes on the spotlight offering mutual funds to companies who are focused on the environment.
More people are striving so hard to fulfill their dreams, and they have the vision and mission to guide and inspire them not to give up just like any company who does business but at the same time doing its social and environmental responsibilities. More and more companies are aware of this management responsibility, but few are actually doing it. Those few companies are making use of recycled products as raw materials in manufacturing quality made eco-conscious fashionista handmade bags, purses, wristlets, and bag accessories. All these environmentally-friendly products came from recycled waste materials like magazine, candy wrappers, recycled juice pouch, rice sacks, decommissioned tires, and other recycled waste materials available in our surroundings. Made of quality-made candy wrappers, magazines and recycled juice pouch by local artisans in Mexico, Indonesia and in the Philippines, each handmade bags and accessories being sold online by companies whose mission is to bring eco-friendly handbags and accessories to online customers are actually helping skilled local artisans to earn a living too, for their families in Mexico, Indonesia, and Philippines.
From garbage to riches is achievable because many people have proved it already. Let us hope that someday the bad situation of this world where we live will change dramatically. May God help us become examples to those who haven’t yet come to the realization that we need to unite and cause a positive change to save our dear planet Earth.