Volunteer ladies from the Dawoodi Bohra community of Vancouver recently launched Happy Nests, a global Dawoodi Bohra initiative to reuse and upcycle plastic materials that would otherwise be trashed. The campaign also seeks to raise awareness of the damage that plastic is doing to the environment.
The campaign involves thinking of creative ideas to ensure that more of the plastic we use every day such as milk cartons, yoghurt tubs, and shampoo bottles can be “upcycled” – or given alternative uses, such as planters for growing kitchen herbs.
Several women in the Vancouver Dawoodi Bohra community are involved, including:
Ms. Umme Hani Khambaty – an Early Childhood Educator, uses old wrapping paper to transform used plastic containers into decorative planters. Keen to be “part of the solution – not pollution,” she is using the Happy Nests initiative to create learning activities for children in the 4+ age group.
Ms Tahani Nezar-Mutahar created a beautiful pencil and eraser holder out of a plastic soda bottle. She also runs an Arts and Crafts business that is planning to start selling upcycled items.
Fifteen year old high school student, Fatema Huzeifa created an exquisite handbag out of regular plastic carrier bags. She fused together three plastic bags to create a leather-like texture, sewed it together, added a button to open and close the purse, and decorated the bag with a small length of pretty lace for a strap. Fatema also made a beautiful desk organizer out of an empty milk container, adding colorful fabric, lace and sequins for decoration.
Ms Sakina Medina is finding alternative uses for plastic containers such as using them as gardening glove holders and fridge organizers for holding vegetables.
Other ideas being planned by the ladies of Vancouver include recycling plastic containers to grow herbs and flowers, and converting them into bird feeders. Furthermore, by creating awareness of the benefits of reuse and upcycling, and the damage caused by plastics, Happy Nests hopes to reduce the volume of plastic waste in landfills. In particular, Happy Nests strives to encourage young people to be more mindful of their environment and generate good habits.
Natasha Tucker, Executive Director of Plastic Oceans Canada, commented,
“On behalf of Plastic Oceans Canada, I would like to recognize and congratulate The Dawoodi Bohras on their efforts to give discarded plastic new life through the creation of new products in an effort to reduce plastic pollution. It’s a wonderful initiative and we are so thankful for communities like this that are taking strides and making an impact.”
José Luis Gutiérrez García, Co-Founder and Project Director of UpGyres (which works to prevent plastic waste from polluting air, land and waters) commented,
“I commend the Dawoodi Bohra community for their ongoing efforts to eliminate single-use plastic, rid bodies of water of plastic pollution, and encourage upcycling.”
Happy Nests is part of Turning the Tide, a global Dawoodi Bohra initiative to eliminate single-use plastic and rid bodies of water of plastic pollution. Dawoodi Bohras regularly lead practical efforts to protect, enhance and clean-up the natural environment where they live while raising awareness of the need for sustainable development. A video by the Dawoodi Bohras, Turning the Tide Against Plastic Pollution – The Dawoodi Bohras, explains more about the initiative and calls on everyone to harbor a greater sense of responsibility to the environment.