A group of Solomon women are collecting strapping and wrappings to turn them to good use.
In our modern world the wrappings and materials used to protect imported goods is quickly discarded and often becomes a source of littler.
This material although widely considered waste is strong, waterproof and durable, features that are positive when looked at in a new light. There is a global trend to recycle materials to use in a new way; a second and third or even a fourth time, to maximize the energy used to create the product in the first place.
Poor women in many South East Asian countries like the Philippines and Thailand are using waste materials particularly packaging and wrappings in a big way in bag making.
The bags sell very well because consumers like to feel they are helping clean up the environment and like the creative ingenuity of many of the bags. The bags appeal to both tourist and locals because they are strong, durable and some are waterproof. Sales of course have brought a new source of income to many women without work in poor communities.
Taking the lead from the S.E. Asian women, a group of women in Honiara have got together to make bags, to start with; from carton strapping.
A couple of weeks ago three Australians gathered a group of weavers together to show them the bag samples, in the hope that they would be inspired to make similar bags here.
The bags are constructed by weaving together strapping, in a similar way to the original Solomon Island custom woven basket. The skills required to produce these recycled material bags are already here, Solomon Island women are gifted in the craft of weaving.
The group was impressed with the quality, strength and design of the bags and indeed motivated and confident they could make similar products to the samples shown without much training. In fact there is no trainer, the group just have samples to learn from.
The group have met twice since and are doing prototypes and working by trial and error to make attractive saleable bags.
The winning combination of accessible free materials and women with skill and determination should soon bear fruit; attractive bags should soon be on the market.
The women are appealing to businesses, particularly importers and wholesalers to save and donate their waste carton or bale strapping, rather than throw it in the waste collection.
The women who loosely call themselves the “Wrap women” would appreciate any drop off of strapping to the P.E.T.office at the Multi Purpose Hall. Long, clean unbroken strapping is the best, if un-packers cut the strap at the joining place the usable part of the strap is longer and easier to use the complete piece.
Wrap Women work together on Saturday mornings at 9.30am at the Multipurpose hall, anyone wishing to join the group are very welcome. Any interested weavers who are Adventist should register their interest with Alison on 769 9627 .