Friday, November 20, 2009

My Reasons for Recycling

The following are some questions I receive from time to time.

~Why recycling?
~Why give old clothes a new look?
~Why not just purchase a new dress, blouse or new top?
~Why use discarded boxes of cereal or other products to create clothing tags and other items?

Below are some of my responses.

Even though I did not know the importance of what I was doing when I was 14, but this is how I taught myself how to sew by using my parents' old clothes and turn them into something completely new. By saying new I mean a new life, style, design, and more. It wasn't because we could not afford new clothing: I desperately wanted to learn how to sew, even though my Dad did not want to hear about it, using those old clothes were my only alternative. It was MY way to show how much I loved being creative and how good I was going to be at it.

When I decided to recycle discarded umbrellas four (4) years ago and collected remnants of materials and leather a while back, at that time I wanted just to collect them thinking maybe one day I will do something with them not knowing if I was doing the right thing or not. Now, that I know better and more aware of our environment, I can see the importance of recycling and upcycling.

Recycling and upcycling are much better and more sustainable ways to reuse what once was considered trash and by doing so, I am also saving a certain amount of energy by conserving it.

What people do not seem to understand is that every time we throw away our old clothes, a broken umbrella, cereal boxes, or other products in the garbage, we create more waste that pollutes our environment. To some of us who don't know, of course it is the right thing to do, trashing out the old or unused stuffs.

Recycling= no accumulation in our landfills, no toxicity, and discarded items are put to good use. I think we really need to make this a focus in our lives.

A few weeks ago, I reached out to a few umbrella factories. As we all know, most of them are now located in China, but I found one in the Williamsburg area in Brooklyn that makes beach and patio umbrellas. They are struggling, but still in business. The owner told me, they have many pieces of materials they cannot use, because they are too small and I am more than welcome to come for a visit and see if those "small" pieces were any good and if I will be able to use them. I was more than happy to do so. I went on a Friday with one of my interns and could not believe my eyes; the fabrics were in a variety of beautiful prints, colors, designs and of course water-repellent! So when the owner, a very nice gentleman, started to pull small rolls of materials I was in choked. I told him: " you said they were small pieces that you wont be able to use right, but those are rolls of materials". His answer was: "each of those rolls contain only 5 and maybe less than 10 yards which are way too small for the size of the patio or beach umbrella we do here". If I did not get in touch with them, those fabrics were ready to be trashed out and were going to waste away and be accumulated in our landfills. I felt so great rescuing these beautiful fabrics because it was the right thing to do.

I love to create things and very happy whenever I do so, with those fabrics I will be able to make beautiful handbags and totes that are strong and water-repellent. Every time you purchase one, it will demonstrate your support for the preservation of the environment and how much you care.

Included in this post is a picture of a beautiful top, which I upcycled using two men's shirts. Yes, I know it only shows the back; next time I will show the front and more.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!
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