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The Feel Good Gift of the Season: Recycled Plastic Purses

In case you haven’t noticed, I try to avoid writing only about things going on in the world of cosmetics and beauty products. In particular, I try to avoid blatently promoting my business, The Nature of Beauty. This is because I am passionate about all things eco-friendly, or I wouldn’t have started the business in the first place.

However, today I am making an exception because I really want to share with you our exclusive holiday offering. And it’s not even really about The NOB. It’s about my other passion: helping women in third-world countries establish businesses.

You see, research has shown time and time again that the most effective way to pull communities out of poverty is to train, educate, and make sure the women in those communities are able to support themselves and their families. To quote Ritu Sharma of the Women’s Edge Coalition, an advocacy group: “Teach a man to fish, he eats. Teach a woman to fish, everybody eats.”

To that end, we purchased every last clutch and cosmetic bag we could find in the U.S. that was made by the Njau Recycling Group, a cooperative of women in Gambia. These women round up the plastic bags they find laying about in village streets, where animals often choke to death on them while foraging for food. They take the bags, cut them into strips, and create beautiful and highly durable makeup bags, clutch purses, and other accessories. The women sell the bags to companies like A Better Footprint, who then sell them to retailers like myself, and they use the proceeds to support themselves and their families, and put their children through school.

Of course, we couldn’t just ship the bags out to our customers sad and empty, so we’re filling them up with samples and trial sizes from Logona, Living Nature and suki. And at $9.50 for the little ones, and $12 for the bigger size, it’s kind of a no-brainer. They are perfect as a gift for the hostess of your next holiday party, the babysitter, or perhaps for yourself because why not? it’s helping women in Gambia feed and educate their children – do you really need an excuse?



Written by Terri Bly

Terri Bly is the founder of The Nature of Beauty, LTD, an all-eco website, shop, and spa. She is a freelance writer, currently residing in Minneapolis.

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