It’s no secret that we are totally obsessed with trash-to-treasure here at Inhabitat – we just cannot get our fill of landfills with a brighter lining. These pop-art recycled trash paks by Monsoon Vermont (part of Monsoon Group) really caught our eye when we spied them floating around the blogosphere. Crafted from recycled trash in Java (primarily detergent packets and toothpaste tubes) that are collected by slum-dwelling scavengers in Jakarta, this brilliant eco-enterprise is not only cleaning up the face of the planet but putting a new spin on dignity and right-livelihood in an otherwise economically impoverished area.
Monsoon Vermont‘s paks are made from recycled garbage that is scavenged from Jakarta’s landfills, littered streets, and polluted waterways. The collected refuse is then triple sanitized with bleach and dried thoroughly before local artisans begin cutting and collaging the plastic packets to create one-of-a-kind, stitched designs. The quality workmanship in each piece is reinforced with heavy-duty double zippers, strong buckles, and made-to-last hardware. This is not a case of an industrial workplace churning out fancy accessories for foreign markets but rather an example of a dedicated effort to create sustainable livelihoods for residents of Jakarta, Indonesia.
As the company states, “We seek to honor the story of each person who scavenges, collages, and sews garbage into functional works of art. Our mission is to elevate non-recyclable plastic garbage into a valuable commodity. Like rice, the trash is sold by the kilo. When you purchase one of our products you become an environmental activist. A force that fights global poverty and pollution. Your purchase uplifts trash pickers both socially and economically.”