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May 19th, 2008
Bazura bag collections help women’s co-op, environment
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Peterborough, Ontario – Bazura Biz, a Canadian company that designs and sells stylish and eco-friendly bags and accessories, is helping sustain a Women’s Co-Op in the Philippines that makes the majority of their products with exciting new line extensions. In addition to the popular one-of-a kind Bazura Bags and accessories they have been making from used, colorful and non biodegradable juice containers that would otherwise clutter landfills, fields and streets of their community, the Co-Op is now creating bags made from recycled rice bags and advertising banners.

The incorporation of new sources of waste into production of the Bazura Bags, gives the Co-Op the variety they need to help drive sales and therefore increase and sustain production.

“Since the main focus of the Women’s Co-Op is to give gainful employment to their many members, the sustainability of orders is their highest priority,” says Bazura Biz founder Larry Duprey. “Increased sales drive the necessity to acquire more waste materials for production which is good for the less fortunate, but empowered women of the Co-Op and great for the environment.”

Seven years ago with only the help of the local village council, six Filipino women set up the Co-Op which has grown to include over 800 members today. More than half of the members work full time at the Co-Op which pays school children to collect over 50,000 used juice containers per day. They are washed, sanitized and recycled into a wide variety of fashionable and durable bags, accessories, home furnishings and even footwear that are exported and sold in over 15 countries around the world.

On a recent visit to the Co-Op in the Philippines, Duprey also established a new Scholarship Fund that will help aid children of the women members with their post-secondary education. Bazura Biz has pledged to pay 5% of its total purchases on a yearly basis. In addition, Duprey is trying to encourage buyers of the Co-Op’s other products to help him build the fund.

The new Rice Bag line includes a Rice Tote Bag, Rice-Doy Tote Bag, Rice Lipstick Bag and Rice Messenger Bags that are made from re-used rice bags that are collected from local households by school age children. These colorful rice bags are extremely durable and often feature interesting prints.

Bazura Biz first sourced used advertising banners for their products from Vietnam, then introduced the concept to the Co-Op to the delight of the women who discovered that the Philippines is full of used banners that are discarded in landfills after advertising campaigns are completed. The new Banner Bag line, made from recycled Filipino advertising banners, consists of a Banner Messenger Bag, Banner Shoulder Bag, Banner Shopper Bag and a Banner Cosmetic Bag.

Unlike the bags and accessories created from the recycled juice containers, the new Rice Bags and Banner Bags are lined with pre-consumer waste that consists of heavy aluminum foil from juice containers which make the bags more durable and gives them a better finish. Duprey plans to roll out new styles for both collections over the next several months.

Prices for both new collections, which will be available for purchase in April, range from $6.95 to $34.95. All styles will be available in a selection of appealing colors at stores in the US and Canada and online at www.bazurashop.com.

By transforming “basura”, the Filipino word for garbage, into unique collections of eco-chic bags and other accessories, Bazura Bags keep millions of juice containers and tons of pre-consumer waste out of crowded landfills and conserves resources that would be used to make products from virgin materials. The company is committed to giving garbage a new life as fashionable new bags and accessories that support the environment and fair trade.

“Unlike most third world factory workers toiling away in sweatshops, these women are entrepreneurs and shareholders,” says Larry Duprey, the founder of Bazura Biz. “They work for themselves and have a positive impact on their community and, at the same time, they encourage environmentalism. We are proud to promote their enterprise.”

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