And how this metamorphosis saves Monkeys!

Colombia: a beautiful country, with incredible forests and diverse wildlife, but like many other countries, a trash problem. With no formal trash collection system, the forests and villages suffer from scattered plastic bags, endangering wildlife and creating a mess on village streets. One such village was Los Limites, until they came up with a most transformative solution: Eco-Mochilas!

The Eco-Mochila project was invented by the organization Proyecto Titi (Project Tamarin), a dynamic conservation program that combines field research, education, and community programs in an effort to protect the endangered Cotton Top Tamarin.

An Eco-Mochila is a bag made from crocheting 100 plastic bags into a colorful beach bag or purse. The innovative woman who create the bags are called the Asoartesanas. They encourage villagers and school children to collect plastic bags and as they go door to door to collect, they educate the people about their local wildlife. Then, they cut the bags into strips and begin their craft.

Eco-Mochilas are sold throughout the world at various venues and bring in a suitable salary for an artist. Of course, the collecting of thousands of plastic bags has other benefits: a more beautiful village, and a forest clear of trash, which makes a certain one-pound monkey very happy.

The endangered Cotton Top Tamarin is found only in the forests of Colombia. Deforestation and capture for the pet trade are the species’ greatest threats. The Eco-Mochila project creates sustenance for villagers, an alternative to using the forest for such, and of course, offers a cleaner forest for all wildlife.

The program has been so successful that the Asoartesanas have trained people from other countries to begin similar project in their communities…

And in case this is important to their case, eco-mochilas are cute, come in different sizes, can be personalized, make great presents and are water resistant. I have three!

Click here to purchase an Eco-Mochila and help Cotton-Top Tamarins; and come visit the Tamarins at the Oakland Zoo anytime.

37.7772 -122.166595

Turning Plastic Bags into Beautiful Bolsas 19 June,2008Amy Gotliffe

Author

Amy Gotliffe

Amy Gotliffe is Conservation Manager at the Oakland Zoo. She is a Detroit transplant, enjoying the good Bay Area life for 17 years. She has a degree in communications, holds several teaching credentials and has a Masters Degree in Environmental Education. She has worked at various Bay Area educational and environmental institutions, teaching second grade, working on campaigns, planting pollinator gardens, producing earth day events and generally spreading the word about wildlife and green living. She currently works at The Oakland Zoo where she serves as the Conservation Manager. There, she coordinates support for international, national and local conservation efforts, produces a Conservation Speaker Series, produces the zoo's Earth Day event, leads eco-trips, teaches the various educational programs and heads up an on-site Green Team. On her list of other passions are travel, photography, music and the lindy hop. :-)

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor