Zanzibar is like a dream! You imagine yourself in opulence with a cocktail in your hand, view of the azure sea, feet in the pearly white sand while the scent of fresh herbs blows by. You take home a suitcase filled with memories, souvenirs and your clothes with some beach sand left behind. Only the empty bottles of your favorite drink are left behind. All the packaging of the food and drink you consumed will never leave the island....
Upcycling pur Sang
Like many other tropical islands, Zanzibar has a poor waste management system, which means mountains of empty (wine) bottles end up in the environment. The Zanzibarian Chako sees an opportunity here. An opportunity to clean up their beautiful island, provide employment and create beautiful products.
Chako is upcycling at its best. With minimal input (by this we mean without a complicated technical process that takes a lot of energy), beautiful products are created and at the same time it provides solid employment. Chako employs mainly young people and women, a group that would otherwise have difficulty finding a job.
From a wine bottle to jar and glasses
Every day, a team goes with their traditional 'Daladala' (small truck) along several well-known dumping sites and the hotels of the island. Their mission: to collect all empty bottles before they end up in nature. Once back at the Chako workshop, the upcycling process begins. The bottles are sorted by color, stripped of their labels, cleaned and disinfected properly. At the next step, Chako workers add the real value. The ladies of Chako cut grooves in the bottles after which they are broken using heat and cold. A two-part polishing process creates a safe soft edge to the glass. This is how Chako makes water glasses, carafes and vases. With the addition of skillful wood carving, pots, tea lights and lamps are also made. All with a modern look and the typical Chako Zanzibar twist.
From a simple 'shed' behind a hotel in Stone Town, Chako has grown in recent years into a clean spacious workshop, where almost forty employees now earn a good living. Chako trains new employees to become true craftsmen in glass processing or woodworking. In this way the local woodcarving culture is preserved.
Chako is now well known on the island of Zanzibar and continues to develop. Many hotels participate in the collection of empty bottles. Chako has recently placed waste containers in several villages to educate residents on how to separate and/or reuse their waste. Recently, a number of plastic recycling machines have been purchased, with the aim of addressing the major plastic waste problem on the island as well.
Did you know:
- Chako collects an average of 20,000 bottles every week - Chako has 38 employees who earn a decent salary that allows their children and cousins to attend school - Chako is an innovator. They show locally that economic added value can be created by upcycling waste. By doing so, they inspire other local initiatives to clean up waste and create jobs. - Chako is Fair Trade certified and has also implemented six Sustainable Development Goals in their company.
Nic&Mic and Chako
The mission of Chako is simple, clean up waste and provide a decent income for locals! Let that be exactly the mission of Nic&Mic. Chako is our newest partner and together we want to conquer the European market. This way they can upcycle even more bottles and especially provide women and youth on Zanzibar with a good income.