"From Zero Cost to Zero Waste": Creative Palestinian Women Help Save the Environment
The humanitarian challenges people face around the world are already being exacerbated by what is likely to be the defining challenge of the 21st century: climate change. The crisis has the potential to transform many aspects of our lives. Sadly, those who are already most vulnerable will be hit the hardest.
The ICRC is working to support populations coping with the dual shock of climate change and conflict. On International Women's Day this year, the ICRC in Israel and the Occupied Territories (ILOT), together with The Child Care Society (CCS) in Ramallah, are highlighting stories of Palestinian women who care about the environment and want to help save it by reducing their domestic waste.
To help them achieve this goal, we sought trainers experienced in recycling and reusing household waste. The trainers held several workshops for women across the West Bank and mentored them over two months to help them gain the knowledge and skills they need to turn domestic waste into products which can be sold in the market. They learned how everything from plastic bags to old wires, glass bottles, old clothes, soap bar pieces and even used frying oil can be given new life by applying a little ingenuity.
Using old electrical wires and beads from broken necklaces, the women were able to create new colorful accessories ready to be sold in the market.
I didn't have any idea about recycling and reusing. After participating in the workshops, I gained many skills to turn household waste into useful products. For example, I re-used old clothes and created floor mats and hair bands for my girls - Um Mufeed from Qaryut village in Nablus
The women had a lot of worn out scarves and clothes. So, we helped them turn them into decorative cushions, blankets, oven mitts, pencil cases, dolls and more.
Repurposing waste is good for the environment. With a little bit of creativity, we can make use of things that are no longer needed in the house instead of throwing them out. Also, we can increase our income if we manage to sell the new products- Um Rif'at from Qaryut village
The women learned a new way for repurposing grocery plastic bags. Usually, they would use them for trash bins, but they realized they can be even more creative! They learned how to cut and twist plastic bags to create ropes, which can then be braided into kitchen placemats.
The women learned that they can repurpose frying oil to produce soap bars. They mixed used frying oil with sodium hydroxide solution and poured the mixture into silicone molds. After six weeks, the women will have new, fresh and aromatic soap bars.
I want to use the techniques I learned in the workshops to minimize the expenses of my flower arrangement project. I think this will help me offer cheaper products to my customers and will add a unique touch to my business - Jalilah from Sinjel village in Ramallah
Instead of throwing out glass bottles and plastic containers, the women learned how to turn them into decorative vases, using leftover ropes, eggshells and paint.