With a brand name giving away a hint on what it is about, Junk Not! definitely proves that there are more things you can do to trash than just throwing them away.
At the recent Manila FAME, Junk Not gained introduction to and contact with local and foreign buyers.
“We asked the assistance of the local DTI offices in Laguna and Region IV-A because we needed a venue to market our products. Manila FAME gave us the exposure we looked for,” Willie Garcia, the brand’s founder, comments. She added that their trade show experience was tremendously positive, with a good amount of inquiries from foreign trade buyers. In fact, the brand has sale negotiations with buyers from the United States, the Netherlands, Italy and the Middle East underway.
A small-scale brand hailing from Biñan, Laguna, Junk Not promotes and produces eco-creative products through refashioned and repurposed waste materials. Garcia says, “Junk Not is my little way to reverberate the belief that there is no such thing as waste, only resources that are out of place.” When the brand began in 2009, Junk Not produced fashion accessories such as earrings, necklaces, bags and purses made from woven foil wrapper and rolled papers.
Four years after, Garcia, who is an interior designer, decided to focus on home furnishing, wherein she applies her practice of green interiors.
Junk Not’s upcycling method was borne from Garcia’s desire to address the plastic waste pollution in the country. Her first step was teaching communities about proper waste segregation. “Ninety percent of solid waste materials are recyclable, and we can profit from it,” Garcia cites. “We teach the residents how to manually make braided strings and ropes and woven mats out of the junk food wrappers, sachets, and foil wrappers collected from community schools and sari-sari stores.”
“Those ropes are the base materials for Junk Not’s upcycled products, and we buy the materials from them,” Garcia narrates. With pieces of reclaimed wood from old houses working as frames, the braided strings made of plastic waste are weaved into chair seat or back rest.
Aside from plastic residual waste mitigation, Junk Not also advocates for community empowerment.
Most of Junk Not’s products are handmade by a community of women from Cavite and Laguna. “Junk Not provides a means of livelihood for women by buying the raw materials from them,” Garcia shares. Junk Not also has a training and development program for these communities, in addition to the percentage of sales proceeds that they give back to the community. A pilot community in Taal Volcano was provided with workshops and programs sponsored by the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape (TVPL) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Junk Not is also adopting communities to ensure the sustainability of their livelihood.
With junk food wrappers, sachets, foil wrappers, water hyacinths, screws, magazines, and reclaimed wood, Junk Not is investing on numerous creative ways to transform regular and everyday waste into eco-creative products. The enterprise showcased their upcycled furniture, home and fashion accessories in the 63rd edition of Manila FAME under The Artisans Village-Laguna Pavilion and the OTOP Marketplace.
The Artisans Village is a partner province program that aims to help regular and new Manila FAME exhibitors market their products in the global export scene. It is organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in partnership with LGUs (local government units) and different DTI regional and provincial offices that share CITEM’s aim to promote island crafts and celebrate Filipino craftsmanship.
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