Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cutting creativity!

Four ladies from the village of Napua pose with 40 new glasses cut yesterday from old bottles at the Trashure studio after an intensive recycling workshop to prepare their wares for the village festival. The women take not only the glasses and a new cutter back to their community, but the idea that waste can be creatively transformed rather than just trashed. Since their last workshop in January they have come up with their own new ideas and creations-- more to come on this!

A Bianca Lattern: using the cut bottle tops we made a prototype candle Lattern (so named after its inventor).

"Unauthorized Use Prohibited": how about "Unplanned Product Packaging Prohibited"? Liquor bottles, like so many other corporate products, have dead-end packaging life-cycles, and thus end up as pollution-- except for this one which is now a glass! Power to the people.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Building with Bottles up in the Mountains

Over the last few months, I've been working with my girlfriend Bianca, and with the local officials in Sabangan, to help open up a hike for her company here in Sabangan. Sabangan, is at the foot of the very high, beautiful, and forest shrouded, Mount Kalawitan.
This remote mountain, capped with miles of virgin mossy forest and two meter thick pine trees, has only been opened up in the last year to outsiders.  The new Sabangan Guide School Association has had to clear deer traps and thick jungle to make the hike possible to their sacred ancestral mountain.  Alas, a typhoon last November damaged their Apa base camp and destroyed their organic greenhouse.
Trailadventours (Bianca's company) came to the rescue!  They donated 5000 pesos for the restoration work.  Yet, as we began planning the restoration, we found a colossal stash of trash tucked under Apa’s main hut– hundreds of bottles dating back thirty years had accumulated at the historic camp, which has been used over the decades by local hunters, Japanese Soldiers, Rebels, Filipino soldiers, rice farmers and intrepid hikers.  The bottles were an ugly blemish at the beautiful location, but, also, an opportunity.
Over three days, a team came together to fix up Apa.  The local councilor, Ernesto Bondad, Trail Adventours partner, Bianca Silva, Scottish backpacker Erik Jelinek, local guides Roger, Raymondo Dudds, Reggie and Gypsy and, recycling artist Russell Maier (me!).  Together we camped out for three days to build the greenhouse and to clean out the bottles.  Once cleaned, Russell guided the transformation of the bottles into tables, stools, glasses and lanterns to serve visitors of the camp site.  The greenhouse was erected in the traditional style of a rice rest hut and organic lettuce was planted inside.  Visitors will be enjoying the organic fruits (vegetables really) of our labors, for a long time to come.
Hikes to Mt. Kaliwitan began this past weekend.  I'll post another blog on that shortly.
(this post is adapted from a post that Bianca and I made on her company's blog: