Monday, August 09, 2010
A visit to Trashy Bags
The Trashy Bags headquarters is not too far from where we are living in Accra, so we decided to drop in for a visit.
The showroom had quite a few items and was relatively busy with American tourists and a German, Bernard, who was buying for his retail shops in Germany.
Elvis gave us a tour of the facility. He knew of the Elvis in Memphis, but said that for him Elvis had three meanings, one of them was "Creative Leader". We think he found a good outlet for his creativity!
Elvis explained the processes to us as we took the tour. Trashy Bags pays the locals to pick up and bring the water sachets and Fan Ice packets to their facility for "recycling". As the colorful Fan Ice packets are less plentiful, people are paid more for each of the Fan Ice packets they bring. The amount of the collections are seasonal, but according to Elvis they collect approximately 200kg of sachets per week.
Once collected, the used sachets are cut open for ease of cleaning,
dropped into a cleaning solution and then laid out in the sun to dry.
After the cleaning process, the sachets are brought into the stitching area where they are pieced together and turned into bags. All employees brainstorm on new ideas, some of them, such as umbrellas, are currently being engineered for production.
After 3 years in operation, Trashy Bags is barely breaking even. The company hires about 60 employees, not including those that are paid to pick up the sachets in town. We're not sure what the future will bring for Trashy Bags, but were encouraged to experience some of the people behind this innovative idea!
If you want us to pick up one for you, leave us a comment and we'll collect our 5 Cedis (USD 3) when we see you!