Recycling: So Hot Right Now

by NAA

Walking downtown the other day, I stumbled upon a fun little fair trade shop on Tummelplatz called Weltladen.  Sipping a fresh espresso, compliments of the shop — brilliant! — I took in the visual smorgasbord of handmade objects and found these beauties:  colorful, chic prints on durable stylish bags, made from . . .  (you’ll never guess) . . . fish food bags from Cambodian fish farms.

coll.part bags

Fish food is a surprisingly big deal. Global seafood consumption recently hit an all-time high of 110 million tonnes or 243 billion pounds in one year; that’s about 17 kg  or 37 lbs of seafood per person globally. Fish farming (aquaculture) has steadily grown to make up for dwindling wild catches, and now supplies nearly half of global demand. As you can imagine, fish farms require more than water for production, and that, my friends, means fish food . . . and lot’s of it.

The company producing the bags, coll.part., collects discarded fish food bags from Cambodian fish farms and employs women, victims of mine fields, and polio sufferers under fair trade criteria to create these functional works of art. This venture warms my heart: not only does it make use of what would otherwise be a wasteful by-product of aquaculture (Cambodia is among the top ten fastest growing aquaculture producers in the world), but it also promotes fair trade production and supports people and education. Check them out:  coll.part. fair production

With holiday shopping already on the brain (inevitable given the giant Tannenbaum on Hauptplatz and snow slide construction on Karmeliterplatz), I couldn’t help but think what perfect gifts these bags would make. As an added bonus, you can place orders online and forget those nightmarish lines at the mall (and the CO2 emissions required to get there).

That said, if you’re local, I’d recommend a stroll over to Weltladen on Tummelplatz for an inspiring combination of fresh coffee and fair trade goods.