Entrepreneurial Women - Converting Waste into Household Products

Australian Red Cross (ARC) | Jenni Lillingston from Australian Red Cross (ARC) Nepal, on 28/08/2017 13:25 AEST

Surja Kumari Bahara is an emerging entrepreneur in Bajhang, Nepal. Before the introduction of the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) Sanitation Hygiene and Water Management Project (SHWMP), funded through the CS WASH, Surja had little knowledge about waste management or the opportunities it provided. In Surja’s community there is a lot of littered waste and plastic materials, which are degrading the environment. NRCS has provided seminars and programs in Bajhang, to discuss management of waste materials including training  on how to re-use plastic waste including turning them into useful household products.

“Now I collect different types of old waste products, like noodle wrappers, biscuit wrappers and chocolate wrappers from local vendors or hotels. I use these items to make baskets and pen holders” Surja explained. Surja purchases local plastic ropes to tie the waste and give the products a unique design, as well as using Babio, which is a long grass available in the jungles of Nepal which helps make the products stronger. “I coordinate with the local vendors to collect materials, and make use of the plastic waste in my community” Surja said.

Since participating in the training, Surja has significantly changed her perception on waste management, and has now joined an action group of 12 members.. The group produces locally made items from recycled waste, and then sells them in the markets. “I have been selling my items in the market, and even using them in my own household,” She acknowledged. 

“I am inspired to continue commercializing my new products and regularly discuss waste management with others in my community”