Cebu City, Philippines, has a large waste problem. Every day, tons of unsorted waste ends up in landfills. The city wants to get rid of the landfills but currently has no alternatives. Some districts try to reduce waste by focusing on composting waste. Others make products from waste. Councilor Hon. Nida Cabrera challenged Product Designer Sep Verboom to innovate the recycle programs in Barangay Luz by creating a new recycled product out of local waste materials.
Sep Verboom partnered with social environmentalist Hon. Nida Cabrera to innovate the waste management in Cebu City. Old fans are purchased in junkshops and are combined with traditional weavings by local craftsmen. Every product is made by hand, each with its own great story. From mirrors to poofs, it is obvious that those fans deserve a second live. Fantasized lampshades are made out of recycled electric fan “guards”, waste strips, carefully crafted Mahogany stands and a lot of creativity. The fan guards are personally selected, and bought directly from the local scrap merchants, so by buying the local economy is also stimulated. The strips are waste materials from a chair factory that uses those long strips to make woven chairs.
Implementing creativity trainings to maximize the involvement of the local community. Working side by side the people, leads to ownership. Improved and approved by the residents. Afterwards, locals are inspired by the possibilities. Making Fantasized a sustainable long lasting project. The project had a twofold objective: creating environmental awareness and supporting the residents in their livelihood.
About the products
Fantasized lampshades are made out of recycled electric fan “guards”, waste strips, carefully crafted Mahogany stands and a lot of creativity. The fan guards are personally selected, and bought directly from the local scrap merchants, stimulating the local economy. The strips are waste materials from a chair factory that uses those long strips to make woven chairs.
Fantasized will not solve all the problems in the world, but it shows that we need to cooperate, inspire and be creative. All together.
Planet People Profit
1)Planet 2)People 3)Profit
1.Less waste + increase awareness among the people in the Philippines.
2.Social cohesie + creating jobs for the local people
3.The money the people make + contact with western country’s + money they make out of the lamps in general
Because of the clarity about people and planet, we decided to research the profit. Our main question: How is this project economically possible, in a sustainable way?
To get an answer to our question we decided to contact the designer Sep Verboom himself, and ended up having a Skype conversation with him. We also investigated the support of indiegogo, DFI, awards and crowdfunding.
Indiegogo is democratizing the way ideas get funded and realized across the globe. We have a simple mission: to empower everyone to change the world, one idea at a time. We provide the tools to help campaigns large and mainstream, or small and personal boost the awareness and funds to get there.
Sep Verboom told us he and Indiegogo worked together, but it didn’t worked out as planned. The communication was very difficult and they didn’t launch the project on time.
Are there any similar projects?
We investigated BAMBIKES, a project about making bicycles out of bamboo. They are also having a project in the Philippines, and we found out that they were working together with DFI (=design for impact). Design for Impact can use creativity, inventiveness and technical excellence rein to find lasting solutions to very specific needs in the South and so demonstrate that design can have a social impact and everyone can take part in the project. The project Fantasized also works together with Design for Impact.
Because of the complications between Sep and indiegogo, another crowdfunder helped the project for financial support, Greencrowd. The people that invest in Greencrowd, will not only gain a financial profit, but will also have an positive environmental impact. This project really depends on the financial support of sustainable investors.
It took the designer two years to even start the project. He first wanted to start his own little company and arrange everything by himself, but that didn’t work out quite well. He had to deal with starters issues and a lot of paper work. So he partnered with this little local company in the Philippines (we don’t know the name). The company had a lot of experience with for instance shipping, efficiency, and quality checks.
And he also mentioned that the people with less money are in a better position to be creative and think creative.
By him showing the people in the Philippines how you can recycle old an unused material, the local people are taught to look at waste in a whole new way. And that is what makes this project sustainable in a long term. The search of ‘making something out of nothing’ continues.
We think that because the products are made in a third world country, and sold in western (rich) countries, is a crucial factor that makes this project ‘work’. In our country, but also in Belgium, recycling and sustainability are (becoming) very popular lately, almost a phenomenon. By means of branding the project it becomes clear that if you buy one you for sure know where the product comes from and who made it. Even though the products are pretty expensive, people will buy them anyway because by buying you will support an entire project and also the economy in Cebu city.