African Women Voices
A plastic bottle’s life doesn’t have to end once what’s inside is consumed and discarded. Its particles can be modified to be worn, like a green scarf.
Since, 2008 the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation has been rescuing plastic bottles from recycling bins, making clothes out of them and selling them online and in local stores in Taiwan.
“It is not about money,” said Jeckie Leeng, a volunteer with the foundation who was attending the conference. “It’s about recycling and the relationship with Earth.”
Other than scarves, the foundation sells mugs, T-shirts and totes from recycled and natural materials. The average price of a t-shirt is €24 and proceeds go towards the foundation’s mission of environmental protection, advocacy, development, medical care and charity.
So how does a transparent, rigid, green bottle become a warm, soft scarf?
Once bottles are collected and ready to be processed they’re sent to DA.AI Technology, the foundation’s factory in Taiwan, funded by a sister association of Tzu Chi.
From there, the cap is removed and the bottles are reduced to raw material, which is then used to create the scarves and other products.
Leeng, who is part of the UK delegation, explained all this at the 64th UN/DPI (Department for Public Information) conference where she was manning a booth displaying the recycled white t-shirts and blouses. As in the game, Spot the Odds, two empty plastic bottles stood between two piles of clothes, a reminder of the products original form and proof that life after death is possible, at least for plastic bottles.
This version of the article was originally published on the UN DPI/NGO conference blog