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‘Make spoons and bracelets, not war’

A photography competition held by UK charity WasteAid has attracted nearly 100 entries from around the world, each reflecting what is described as ‘the wonders of waste’. The winning 12 photos are featured in WasteAid’s 2021 calendar.

First place is awarded to Benedicta Nanyonga from Kinawataka Women’s Initiative in Uganda, with her photo showing plastic straws being woven to create bags, mats and jewellery. The women make these items at home to generate income for their households and to innovate with different patterns and plastic waste streams to reach new customers.

Second prize goes to Sandipani Chattopadhyay with a photo from Kolkata, India, showing two women sorting and preparing used plastic cement sacks for re-use. The working conditions highlight the risks to health that many people encounter while they work to keep materials in the loop and protect the environment from pollution.

In third place is Chinch Gryniewicz, with his picture of a woman metalworker in Laos, Southeast Asia, casting spoons from recycled aluminium sourced from shell casings and other war debris. They are melted in an earthen kiln in a remote ethnic Lao Lum village. Ban Naphia is known as the ‘War Spoon/Bracelet Village’ where metal from bombs and planes from the second Indochina war is melted down and moulded into spoons and bracelets. Their motto is ‘Make Spoons/Bracelets, not War’.

WasteAid’s mission is to tackle the global waste crisis. The organisation shares waste management knowledge and skills with governments and communities in low-income countries; trains people to become self-employed recycling entrepreneurs; and influences decision-makers and the donor community to increase investment in waste management.

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