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Peruvian Pastures Painted Gourd Birdhouse2Free Afghan Emerald and Pearl Drop Earrings code GENCTG424Best For Mom Special Values code BESTMOM

Recycled Billboard Tote Bag

Item # 38520
No longer available

Billboards that have outlived their days by the roadside gain a funky second life in a triumph of creative recycling. Artsy plasticized canvas and a hand-cut floral garnish fuse marvelously to create a sensationally eclectic carryall.

  • Large $14.95; 12" H x 14" W x 6" D (30.5 x 35.5 x 15.2 cm)
  • Medium $12.95; 10" H x 12" W x 3" D (25.4 x 30.5 x 7.6 cm)
  • Small $10.95; 9.5" H x 8.5" W x 3.5" D (24.1 x 21.6 x 8.9 cm)
  • Made with recycled billboard
  • Lightweight
  • Water resistant
  • Handmade in and fairly traded with Mexico

Each bag is unique. Design will vary.

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1 review

Recent reviews:

January 20, 2013 - Really ugly piece of a billboard. Colors blurry, no discernible pattern. Very disappointed.

Artisan: Gente Como Nosotros

In the impoverished community of San Pedro Jocotipac in Oaxaca, Mexico, locals have long earned a living weaving hats and bags from the leaves of native palm trees. But with a rapidly changing global economy and cheap goods from Asia beginning to flood the marketplace, many of Jocotipac's weavers found themselves unable to compete and were forced to give up their traditional craft.

Noticing this alarming trend in the economy, an association of accounting, business, and marketing experts stepped in to help. Their organization, Gente Como Nosotros, began working with artisans to develop a previously untapped local resource: a glut of commercial banners clogging local landfills. Working together, the association and artisans developed a line of durable, sustainable tote bags and hats. With hard work and fine craftsmanship, these uniquely beautiful products found a market and are currently sold throughout the U.S. and Mexico.

One artisan, Margarita, was able to gain financial independence by the age of 23 through her work with Gente Como Nosotros. She explains that although machismo is still predominant in the region, her newfound freedom has given her a bright vision for the future. She comes from a poor family where the boys are sent to school while the girls are left to care for the home and younger children. Now, with her steady employment, Margarita plans to put herself through school and improve her life even more.

Recognizing the opportunity to continue improving the environment and help the local economy, Gente Como Nosotros undertook a national campaign to collect unwanted signs and banners from industry and private business. Their artisans clean and sanitize the banners and cut them into components to make the one-of-a-kind bags and hats. Working from a building owned by the office of the mayor, artisans enjoy fair wages, health benefits, and more efficient cooking stoves for their families. Though Gente Como Nosotros' contributions, the entire community has enjoyed improvements such as clean water rights and reforestation.

The efforts of the workshop's twenty-eight artisans have reinvigorated the life of Jocotipac. The town's young people now see a promising future in recycling and traditional artisanship, allowing them to stay in Jocotipac with their families while earning a fair wage.

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