Economics graduate on how she started a business making fashion items from used water sachets

Abu Mubarik October 05, 2021
Adejoke Lasisi converts “pure water" sachets into school bags, other products. Photo: Femi Amogunla/Al Jazeera

Plastic waste is one of the many environmental challenges developing countries face. How to properly dispose of the plastic waste or even recycle them for other use has not been properly explored, leaving many cities in Africa littered with trash such as sachet water waste.

One woman from Nigeria’s Ibadan state has taken the initiative to recycle all manner of waste from the dump into beautiful products. Together with her team at Planet3r, her for-profit business, Adejoke Lasisi converts used “pure water” sachets into school bags, slippers, purses, mats, artwork and others.

In her 30s, Lasisi comes from a middle-class weaving family in Ibadan, Nigeria. She started weaving the popular aso-òfì, traditionally woven by Yoruba people of Nigeria at the age of nine

Lasisi said she started recycling the small, rectangular sachets of drinking water made from nylon (used pure water sachets) after people started complaining about them. In Nigeria, it is not uncommon to find used water sachets on roads and in gutters.

“I began to pick them up,” the Economics graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University told Aljazeera. “I also began to think of what I could do with them.

“People were always complaining about the pure water nylon sachets everywhere. I worked out that it would be great to make these nylon sachets into colorful clothing.”

According to Aljazeera, Lasisi has perfected the art of blending weaving wool with nylon to transform them into attractive products.

She sources the nylon from the streets and from water processing plants. “After sorting, we wash the material thoroughly and disinfect it, after which we dry it in the sun. The whole process takes three days. Once dried, we shred the material with scissors into thread-like strands. Then, we can begin to weave them on the loom.”

Lasisi’s popular product is a school bag which she makes from 10 percent òfì and 90 percent nylon and recycles 250 water sachets in the process. Also, she has partnered with different organizations to train several young people in art.

“I hope that other young people will be able to save the environment with their hands too. The more wastepreneurs we have, the cleaner our environment becomes.”

Lasisi has received multiple awards, including the “Eleven Eleven Twelve Foundation’s” Africa Green Grant for her contribution towards improving the environment. Also, she is the recipient of The Africa Green Grant Award 2020 from the EET Foundation.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 5, 2021


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