Go green, go local!
Sustainable living has evolved from being just a fad to a collective movement which some Filipinos have seriously embraced. For those who have included adapting to a zero-waste lifestyle in their list of new year’s resolutions, here’s a quick list of local products that can help in your journey.
These proudly Filipino-made products promote environmental consciousness among consumers, while ensuring the welfare of workers and help communities at the same time.
The harmful effects of single-use plastics and the lack of livelihood in local communities are what Junk not! aims to help address. This Laguna-based MSME offers intricately-made furniture and home decor made from upcycled plastics and reused waste materials.
“Through Junk not!, we find creative ways to transform regular plastic waste into functional furniture pieces while providing livelihood to communities and protecting the environment,” says founder Wilhelmina Garcia. Among those the brand have helped were displaced residents due to the eruption of Taal Volcano in 2020.
When sustainable living started gaining traction among Filipino consumers, bamboo-made materials in replacement of commonly used plastic items instantly became popular. Among those that pioneered the production of utensils, straws, chopsticks, speakers, and sound amplifiers made of bamboo is Balbin’s Furniture.
Apart from focusing on producing quality-made bamboo items handcrafted by the locals of Abra, Balbin’s Furniture also hosts skills training for local farmers. “There needs to be a balance between [providing] green, eco-friendly products and providing value to our consumers, as well as our workers,” says Ecospeaker and Ecobam founder Robert Jay Balbin.
Gift & Graces Fair Trade Foundation (G&G)
G&G can be your go-to source for fashionable products like bags, clutches, pouches, and accessories made with heart by underserved communities including women in the correctional, individuals with special needs, and persons with disabilities. G&G also works with the T’boli Tribe from South Cotabato and residents from remote provinces.
“Not only do we empower the underserved communities but we consciously create new items that are upcycled therefore reducing the amount of waste that goes to the landfill,” G&G designer Marge Obligacion says.
The playful combination of the words craft and katcha, a type of cloth known for its durability and affordability, best describes the mission of Craftcha to harness creativity to come up with products that can help save the environment. This store offers functional household goods including tote bags, laundry sacks, aprons, kitchen towels, and linens made out of flour sacks, old jeans, outdated clothing, and waste cloth.
“Craftcha is a product of our life experiences and was built right after Typhoon Ondoy. The said experience kindles us to put up a business that advocates cloth waste management and minimizes plastic bag use,” store owner Merlita Manicad says.
For eco-friendly gifts, tokens, and corporate giveaways, Care Channels houses a variety of handcrafted and recycled desk calendars, cards, notebooks, notepads, and coasters adorned with real pressed flowers.
Proceeds earned from sales of Care Channels are used to support financially-challenged Filipino students to help them pursue a college education. “No purchase is too small for a person who has the heart to help the needy. The purchase of these products helps our beneficiaries to provide for themselves,” says marketing and distribution head Angel Tolentino.
A portmanteau of bamboo and hanapbuhay (or livelihood,) Bambuhay is a social enterprise specializing in bamboo-made items including the bamboo face shield.
Bambuhay’s mission is to uplift the lives of indigenous people, rebel returnees, solo parents, out of school youth, and women farmers, whom it assists to become agri-prenuers. “We promote awareness that taking care of the planet and the indigenous people, the guardians of our forest, are everyone’s responsibility,” Bambuhay chief executive farmer Mark Sultan says.
Jacinto & Lirio
The words Jacinto and Lirio translate to hyacinth and lily, the main materials this local store use for their handmade plant leather goods, including bags and wallets, journals and planners, lanyards, passport sleeves, and gadgets and travel accessories.
“The main problem that prompted us to start Jacinto & Lirio is the water hyacinth issue here in the Philippines,” Jacinto and Lirio marketing associate Stefanie Estillore says, noting that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) hosted skills training programs in transforming water hyacinth, which is considered as a damaging aquatic plant, into products with commercial value.
Patronizing these local products anchored in sustainable living is like hitting two birds with one stone. By bridging local MSMEs to a wider market both in the local and international scene, the Buy Local Go Lokal program spirals a domino effect not just in terms of the Philippine economy in general, but also in empowering local stores which in turn generates livelihood for various communities in the Philippines.
Learn about the Buy Local, Go Lokal initiative, and how one can participate in supporting local businesses through https://golokal.dti.gov.ph/. Let’s Buy Local, Go Lokal!