There are moments when life presents us with revelations about ‘things’ so profound; so sublime that we think we must be the reincarnation of St John the Divine, or, at the very least bathing in his reflected glory!
Such was the case today! We had been told by a friend of an organisation based in Ayvalik called ‘Çöp (M)adam’ (they call themselves the ‘Rubbish or Garbage Ladies’). They operate out of tiny premises next door to a tea house in a back street of this town. You can get a load of background info from their website and blog; all in glorious, easy to understand English.
The principle upon which it is based is so simple, so profoundly common-sensical that it is hard to believe that it is not the norm across the length and breadth of our poor, struggling planet. In essence, they use rubbish – from pre-consumer industrial packaging, to discarded plastic bags, to empty raki bottles, to you name it and turn it into wonderfully classy, useful items from fashion jewellery to bags of every description. They employ around 40 women who have never been in salaried work who work from home to make the range of items in their catalogue. There are shopping bags that have been crocheted from plastic bags! Evening bags made from bar-code stickers! Drinking glasses and vases made from raki bottles! Day bags made from old sacks and Lipton’s Teas packets! Cook’s aprons made from waste rags! The items are stunning; classy and very individual and very, very desirable!
As a concept it would be hard to improve on; rubbish is recycled into real, useful, everyday products that we need or like to have – women who are in desperate need of income find dignity and self-respect from engaging in useful employment with a fair return on their skill, effort and dedication. The impact on the rubbish that litters our environment is minimal, but the impact on the mindset of our society about rubbish/recycling and the principles behind re-use and re-thinking our use of plastics in particular cannot be over-stated. It is a brilliant project that has won recognition from all quarters and is deserving of support and dissemination of the underlying message. The products are pretty bloody wonderful, as well! Here’s a selection, as you browse through them, remember where they came from – they are nothing but somebody else’s rubbish: