‘Trashy’ decor and gift ideas
Arts and crafts teachers looking for new, unique and interesting but inexpensive projects for their students to do, especially decor and gifts for Christmas and New Year, should take a look at the suggestions offered by the book “3Rs of Fun in Waste.” The crafts are also environment-friendly as they use items that would have otherwise gone to dumpsites.
A project of the Ilocos Sur-based nongovernment organization (NGO) Bituen Arts, Culture Events and Communications Organization, in collaboration with the National Solid Waste Management Commission, an agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the book is a collection of about 100 ideas on how to turn trash into something pretty, useful and/or wearable. The book is just one of several initiatives of Bituen, Ilokano for star, that aim “to use in full all available resources from arts, events, culture and communications to help improve the lives” of Filipinos it touches, especially the marginalized.
Bituen, consisting of volunteers from different sectors, has partnered with private individuals, businesses and government organizations for such projects as Reading Caravan and Reading Festival. It opened recently ToyKalapawMi (Our Small Hut), a library, museum and shop meant to be the hub for its various activities and also to help raise money for the NGO. Among other things, it will sell Bituen handicraft and also serve, through the Gr3encycle section, as a drop-off point for things people no longer need that would have otherwise been thrown away. People who may have use for the items can exchange them for something else.
The group also conducts free talent and skills training, in collaboration with other groups, even in Metro Manila, according to coordinator Melanie Cortel.
“3Rs of Fun in Waste” is part of Bituen’s campaign to promote sustainable practices, particularly the 3Rs—reuse, reduce, recycle.
Author Margaret Tadeja-Cruz, a journalism graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, indefatigably searches the Internet for products that can be made from solid waste to reduce the garbage that piles up in municipal dumpsites all over the country. Tadeja-Cruz, who maintains a blog (http://gypsy-artscrafts.blogspot.com/), prefers to call the process “upcycling” instead of reusing or recycling because the waste materials are used “in their present state.”
The crafts she has chosen for the book use waste paper to make wreaths for holidays and special events, vintage memo notes, desk calendar, mobile frames and filing boxes, among others. Empty boxes or cartons are made into gift boxes and CD organizers while glossy magazines and calendars become notebook or book covers, magazine baskets, even beads to make bracelets.
Old skirts and denim jeans become totes, hats, coasters, topiary, clutch bags and phone cases. Keys that are no longer used are turned into pendants or chimes while plastic soda bottles are transformed into unusual bangles that will certainly be conversation pieces. Even used phone cards are rescued from the garbage heap as they are turned into colorful dangling earrings or bracelets.
To find out more about Bituen Arts, Culture Events and Communications Organization Inc., visit www.bituen.org. The book “3Rs of Fun in Waste” is available at http://www.amazon.com/kindle/dp/B008EOTJHY/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_eos_detail or at https://www.etsy.com/listing/102972425/3rs-of-fun-in-waste-hard-copy-recycling.
Bituen’s Makati office can be reached through Tel. No. 9941372.