Eco-business / Social Venture

July 5, 2008


Recycled Newspaper Bag Goes International

Keywords: Eco-business / Social Venture NGO / Citizen Non-manufacturing industry Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

Copyright Shimannto Dorama Co.

The "Recycled Newspaper Bag", handmade in a small town of Shimanto, Kochi, is gaining popularity both in and outside Japan. The tote bag, made simply by folding and gluing recycled newspaper, without even using scissors, has attracted attention and has been exported since 2006. Now the product is on shelves at museum shops in New York and other outlets worldwide.

The bag, produced and distributed by a community-based company, Shimannto Dorama (borrowed word for 'drama') Co., was created by a town resident. Ms. Masako Ito, homemaker, came up with the idea of turning recycled material into a bag when she was inspired by the company president, Mr. Risho Azechi, who proposes an eco-friendly lifestyle, and the Shimanto River, which is famously known as Japan's last clear stream.

The company started selling the popularly-dubbed "Ito bag" in 2004, and its popularity spread by word of mouth. By folding and gluing the local paper "Kochi Shimbun," Ms. Ito and three other homemakers in the town hand-make the eco-friendly bag with style and durability. A set of bags in three sizes, large, medium and small (made from five sheets, three sheets, and one sheet of newspaper, respectively each), is priced at 1,000 yen (about US$10).

The company also holds bag-making seminars on Sundays. The how-to-make recipe is scheduled to for sale by the end of March 2009.

Posted: 2008/07/05 05:21:29 PM