The Producers I visited in Mymensing made all sorts of lovely stationary items and homewares from beautifully textured, hand-made paper. Having made my own paper at various times I was looking forward to seeing how the pros do it! The most exciting part of the trip however, was seeing the ingenuity of this organisation. The way they work with some of the most disadvantaged groups in this area, creatively shaping new opportunities for income generation and reusing products that would otherwise become waste, is inspiring. It is so exciting seeing such simple, environmentally sound principles being used to help give families (and particularly women who are most vulnerable here) greater stability and opportunity.
Paper materials include:
- Pineapple leaves: Pineapples are regularly bought and sold in the local market and the leaves are discarded on the ground. The organisation has been buying these leaves from local people who have been collecting them each market day, thus creating a new source of income generation for those families.
- Cotton Waste: from the thousands of garment factories around the country. With it they produce a lovely, thick white paper and card products.
- Water Hyacinth: Throughout the country Water Hyacinth can been seen growing out of control and clogging waterways. They can double their biomass in as little as 6 days, seeds can last 15 years in the soil and they also reproduce via small plantlets that easily break off. Hyacyinth removes oxygen from the water, killing aquatic life (a major food source) and providing ideal breeding grounds for micro organisms, which in turn cause diseases such as bilharzia and malaria. It’s a nasty weed in a country that relies on its waterways for many aspects of ordinary life.
Whilst it is unlikely that they will make enough paper to solve the Water Hyacinth problem here (!) how exciting that all these beautiful and practical products are being made without the felling of a tree or the use of a single wood chip!
This is the kind of story that really excites me and fits perfectly with Ellume Life so keep an eye out for some beautiful Ellume designed paper & other products coming soon!!