Baguio housewives weaving cash from junk food wrappers

junk food wrappers
A colourful placemat made from discarded junk food wrappers

Who would have thought that products made of junk food wrappers could become a valuable commodity on the export market?

Here in Baguio, some housewives are skillfully weaving junk food wrappers which are first cleaned, dried under the sun, cut and made into “banig” products such as bags and placemats, said Joseph Medez, a native of Baguio and owner of Just Project Biotechnology.

He said the housewives, who in 2015 started selling their products during the Session Road in Bloom that is part of the Baguio Flower Festival, were contracted by his company to make bags. They are now exporters through Just Project Biotechnology, he said.

Medez said that one of Baguio’s main problems is garbage, the reason they thought of coming up with an innovative and fashionable way of recycling waste products which were otherwise just adding up to the city’s daily haul, or worst, among those clogging the drainage systems.

“This is unexpected because this was just a family business. My customer, 34-year-old Korean Shiney Kim, bought bags in our stall and got satisfied with the quality, he continued patronising until we decided to partner and export the products,” he added.

Medez said they prefer housewives to make the bags for them because they have the skills and are enjoying their work as they do not even to leave their while earning additional income for their families.

One of the workers, 34-year-old housewife Clarysel Luza, said making woven products has become like a worthwhile hobby for her, allowing her to earn while enjoying at the same time.

Through Just Project Biotechnology, Clarysel is now exporting to South Korea, France, Taiwan, Europe, and is now targeting Germany.

Among the items they make are different kinds and sizes of bags, placemats, key chains, purses, wallets, laptop bags, coasters and many more.

Prices start from 80 pesos, depending on the item and size. They also customize bags according to the client’s preference, which may cost up to 1,500 pesos.

Asked about the advantage of their products over those of their competitors, Medez confidently said their materials are patented and their designs are original. He said their products are the only ones made out of junk food wrappers and this is what makes them stand out among other export items.

By Pamela Mariz Geminiano for Philippine News Agency