Frustrated with the unavoidable waste of packaging materials, in 2008 we developed an elegant, if unusual, solution to one aspect of this problem. Our Recycled Bags Project provides us with 100% recycled shopping bags while at the same time providing a living wage to a group of disadvantaged men and women.
Budakeling is a small farming village in the hills of eastern Bali that has fallen on hard times in recent years. Other than traditional farming, there is no local industry to generate income for the villagers, and consequently no means of paying for modern necessities. It is here, with an ambitious young manager named Ketut, that we produce the bags. After working the kinks of assembly and production, Ketut engaged and trained the women of the village to produce bags. As many as sixty villagers are now able to earn a living and spend their days socializing in the assembly compound.
The bags are created entirely by hand, using old newspapers, whitewashing paste, recycled cardboard and banana stalk twine. We use no additional resources to ship them, as we only send them when we can stuff them into the otherwise empty gaps of the containers filled with our other products.