JunkNot!: An SME that creates cool furniture from trash stages new eco-crafts at Manila FAME trade fair

JunkNot! crafts chairs and stools using recycled plastic while creating jobs for a community in Laguna.

A small backyard enterprise in Laguna turns plastic garbage into colorful, handcrafted furniture while providing sustainable livelihood in their community presented eco-conscious creations at Manila FAME trade exhibition last April at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

JunkNot!, along with many SMEs, artisans, and designers from the provinces of Laguna, Cagayan, Albay, and Davao, met thousands of local and foreign trade buyers, visitors, and media through the Partner Province Program of DTI-CITEM, in collaboration with the local government units of the participating provinces. Their products were showcased in a special setting that highlighted traditional crafts and techniques called The Artisans Village.

Wilhelmina Garcia, founder of eco-conscious company Junknot!, believes in designing to make a good impact in society and in the environment. “What is good for the people should also be good for the environment,” she said.

“At JunkNot!, we find creative ways to transform regular and everyday junk into usable items while providing livelihood to a community,” said Wilhelmina Garcia, who founded the company in 2009.

The SME’s employees, who come from the small communities of Biñan, Laguna, collect plastic waste (bags, wrappers, sachets, etc.), clean and twist them into ropes which are handwoven to form the backrest and the seat of chairs and stools.

Old cardboard tubes are also saved to be made into stool legs and water hyacinth plants are treated to create elegant headboards for beds.

“JunkNot! teaches the community not only crafting techniques but also about solid waste management and proper waste segregation. The company buys the raw materials (plastic waste) from the community, then, we give back 5% of the sales to them,” said Garcia.

We “envision to help, in its small-scale way, to solve two problems that our society is facing: plastic waste and the lack of jobs,” said Garcia.

In a 2015 study made by the Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, the Philippines came out as the world’s third biggest contributor of plastic pollution, generating 2.7 million metric tons of plastic garbage each year, with 521,000 tons or 20% leaking into the oceans.

Asked what she and her partners at JunkNot! want to accomplish in the future, Garcia said, “We just want to see a cleaner and greener Philippines, and a happy and healthier earth.”

Used cardboard tubes are upcycled to become stool legs and dried water hyacinth plants are treated to create bed headboards.

Manila FAME, the country’s premier design and lifestyle event, is organized by CITEM, the export promotions arm of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Philippine and international SMEs manufacturing home, holiday, and fashion products are encouraged to join Manila FAME in its 64th edition to be held in October 20-22, 2016. For more information, log on to www.manilafame.com.