In Ghana most people drink water from little plastic bags, or sachets. Once emptied, these sachets are often tossed on the ground, clogging storm drains, littering beaches and polluting the ocean, says a recent CNN article. In fact, water sachets are the most common type of trash found on the streets of Accra, the country's capital city.
British entrepreneur Stuart Gold started Trashy Bags to save the sachets from going to waste. The Accra-based NGO pays locals to collect discarded sachets and sew them into purses, grocery bags and other useful accessories. So far, Trashy Bags has collected over 15 million sachets, notes CNN. And their eco-friendly creations are proving to be a hit among tourists as well as locals.
In addition to tidying up the streets, Trashy Bags is also fueling Ghana's feeble job market. More than 60 Ghanaians are employed full-time to sew the bags, and 100 people work part-time to collect water sachets and juice pouches. Trashy Bags' founder explains the project's environmental and economic mission on the nonprofit's website:
Every bag that we sell reduces land pollution, keeps people employed and serves as a very visible reminder that plastic waste can often be put to good use long after its initial purpose has expired. Every bag that we sell is an opportunity to educate the public about their environment and their responsibility to keep it clean for the good of humanity and of the planet's ecosystems as a whole.