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Things made from plastic packaging

While a lot of the trend in using trash for "creative consumption" is questionable, there are some great things being made especially with plastic trash. For example, these cool umbrellas made out of those brightly colored juice packs and detergent pouches (we don't use them here in the US but they are a HUGE problem elsewhere) by Plastic Works in Indonesia and distributed in the US by Monsoon Vermont. "Ttrashion" can't really be considered within a zero waste paradigm, after all, it only delays the inevitable disposal in a landfill (Royce), but it does employ people in the collection and processing of waste, and cleverly transfers the waste issue from developing countries back to the developed world via consumption.

"** FOR STORY SLUGGED: INDONESIA TRASH FASHION ** An employee of Plastic Works, a company which makes bags, wallets, and other accessories, works at his sewing machine Friday, June 27, 2008 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Used detergent labels and toothpaste tubes from Indonesia are going from landfills to fashion frills on bags and wallets sold in Singapore, Australia and the United States. (AP Photo/Ed Wray)"

On another note, the production employees shown in this photo essay are all men. This follows the findings from studies on informal sector development (WIEGO, Chen, et. al). The better paid, more "technical" jobs (like sewing) go to men while the lower jobs (like collecting the packaging from the landfill) are more likely to be done by women and children. In developing an informal sector be sure to include career opportunities and training opportunities for women. See the SEWA model for how to organize poor women in the informal sector for collective power.