Young Entrepreneur from Ho Chi Minh City Aiming to Upcycle Plastic Bags

Pham Thi Kim Hang, a young entrepreneur from Ho Chi Minh City, turns used plastic bags into handbags, pen boxes, and other products with the hope to reduce plastic waste and change public behavior of using single-use plastics.
October 21, 2021 | 00:45

Pham Thi Kim Hang, 26, is living in the Tan Phu district of Ho Chi Minh City. She owns a shop specialized in providing organic products made by visually impaired people. Pursuing a green lifestyle, Kim Hang hopes that her products can be easily accessible for the public, helping them to form the habit of reducing plastic waste released to the environment.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, Kim Hang notices that people often order food online, consequently receiving a large number of plastic bags, which are highly difficult to break down. She is determined to find ways to recycle them.

Young Entrepreneur from Ho Chi Minh City Aiming to Upcycle Plastic Bags
Pham Thi Kim Hang hopes that her products can helping them to form the habit of reducing plastic waste released to the environment. Photo: VnExpress

“Plastic bags are readily available in Vietnam. Not only do they have eye-catching colors, but they are also waterproof and very durable. If we can recycle plastic bags, we can reduce a significant amount of plastic waste released into the environment,” Kim Hang said.

After collecting used plastic bags, Kim Hang cleans and dries them before cutting the bags into small threads and rolling them into long reels of plastic threads. She then uses small-scale looms to turn them into sheets of plastic cloths.

Young Entrepreneur from Ho Chi Minh City Aiming to Upcycle Plastic Bags
A bag made with mixed recycled plastics. Photo: VnExpress

Plastic clothes are pressed flat, oversewn and cut into smaller pieces of various sizes, ready to be patched together and create different products such as handbags or pen boxes.

When she first attempted to make products from recycled plastics, Kim Hang strictly followed color principles when mixing plastic threads. As this took too much time and was prone to errors, she instead opted to combine colors randomly. The changes in her weaving methods turned out to be a wise decision: She could create products with patterns resembling those found in traditional brocade.

Young Entrepreneur from Ho Chi Minh City Aiming to Upcycle Plastic Bags
Mixing cotton with plastic threads help to increase the products’ durability. Photo: VnExpress

Kim Hang mixes cotton threads with plastic threads to increase the products’ durability.

“While I want to utilize as many plastics as I can to make bags, the products must have high durability and good appearance. If the products created with recycled materials can be used only in a short time, we may risk releasing even more plastic waste into the environment,” Kim Hang said.

To gather production materials, Kim Hang and her friends also share their promotion programs on social media, where people can exchange their used plastic bags for presents. However, Kim Hang does not accept biodegradable plastics as they will break down after a while.

Young Entrepreneur from Ho Chi Minh City Aiming to Upcycle Plastic Bags
This bag uses only one new material: The zipper. For the rest of the bag, Kim Hang uses clothes and pillow covers to sew the inner part and dispose of curtains to make the bag handles. Photo: VnExpress

In addition to making fashion bags, Kim Hang has been experimenting with the available materials to make other products such as makeup pouches. With the smaller mixed plastic pieces, she sews pen boxes. All pieces cut from larger ones are carefully calculated to maximize usage.

For the cloth that cannot be used, Kim Hang presses them tightly in disposed plastic bottles to make ecological bricks.

Young Entrepreneur from Ho Chi Minh City Aiming to Upcycle Plastic Bags
Kim Hang also makes other products such as makeup pouches from recycled plastics. Photo: VnEpxress

To Kim Hang, even as her products are made from recycled materials, they must be fashionable, durable and usable.

“I appreciate people who keep their plastic bags and bring them to us so we can recycle these bags and extend their lifecycle. I hope that my products, as they are distributed to consumers, can be a tool to raise awareness and form the habits of not using single-use plastic bags,” Kim Hang said.

Domestic plastics sector takes up opportunities from EVFTA Domestic plastics sector takes up opportunities from EVFTA

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has brought a host of opportunities that the local plastics industry can take advantage of to expand export markets ...

Thailand packaging firm expands operation in Vietnam Thailand packaging firm expands operation in Vietnam

Thailand’s SCG Packaging (SCGP) is joining hands with its Vietnamese partners under an investment worth 10 billion baht (US$334 million) to expand its packaging solution ...

Ocean Plastics turned into an Opportunity in Circular Economy project launched in Vietnam Ocean Plastics turned into an Opportunity in Circular Economy project launched in Vietnam

Ocean Plastics turned into an Opportunity in Circular Economy (OPTOCE) Project was officially launched in Vietnam on October 4.

Sophie Tran

Insider

The World's Most Tragic Disappearing Planes That Might Never Be Found World

The World's Most Tragic Disappearing Planes That Might Never Be Found

The world might never know what really happend when these planes went off the radar. Let's take a look at some of the unsolved mysteries of aircraft disappearances.
17:19 | 02/12/2021
Phiên bản di động