One person's move to Cambodia in an attempt to make trade fair -- fair wages for producers and fair prices for consumers. Bloom eco-friendly bags are recycled bags hand made by fairly paid workers in Cambodia that are sought after by ethical consumers everywhere.
Sunday, January 03, 2010
New Bloom Milk box wallets
Check out Bloom's new recycled milk box wallets. Kamhut designed these a few months ago and they've been a hit! We buy the cartons from our resident rubbish collector and we pay him more per kg than what rice costs, so it's good money for him, and we get to do our part by recycling the boxes into practical wallets. Everything we do we try to follow the Bloom Motto: "Help the Poor, Help the Planet". We're selling these original, handmade wallets for USD5. They are not laminated with plastic so don't get them soaking wet.
Plastic is a problem. Some customers like our ricebags to be laminated because it makes them waterproof and last longer. But the plastic is not biodegradable because Cambodia does not make them. We can import, but I try not to because of the carbon footprint. I will see if we can find clean, used plastic as an option. I see websites saying the plastic they use are "Re-purposed", but I suspect that's a deceptive way of describing plastic that is new, just used for a different purpose (i.e., covering bags instead of books, for example). I hate the double-speak. For instance, there are sites that say the ricebags are covered with "vinyl". Why not just say what it is: "plastic". It's not even correct to call it vinyl, since plastic known as vinyl is really PVC.
Anyway, there are customers who are very strict about using plastic. Amnesty, for instance, insisted on non-laminated bags when they ordered from us. But many customers think the plastic makes sense because if the bags last longer then they are less disposable, which is a good thing I guess since the whole point is to make things that are less disposable. What do you think? Please give me feedback ok?
We have already made bags with fused plastic bags, thereby reusing the plastic bags we find all over Cambodia, so I'll try that with the ricebags. Plastic bags drive me crazy in this country, as well as customers (always, always, Asian, but also two Spanish women) who ask me for a plastic carrier to put their just-purchased recycled rice bag. These people are just so used to having plastic bags, they don't stop to think about it. For goodness sakes', you just bought a bag, you want a bag to bag your bag? We don't give out plastic bags in our shop - I am sorry but you just have to carry your bag out with you and if you bought our recycled accessories, wear them out. Come on, is it such a big deal? Or maybe I should start making recycled newspaper bags for you to bag your bag. But you know what's going to happen - you'll throw it away when you're packing your luggage for home.
One last point. This is the first time I have stamped our website on our product photos. There are no copyright laws in Cambodia, so I know our designs and ideas will be all over the country once it gets out. But that's ok. We just have to keep innovating and leading the way, that's all!