We Chat to Real-Life Eco Heroes

Winners of IPC’s latest Eco-Heroes recyclable design contest tell FEMALE what inspired their creations. Check out their craft-y designs and be inspired yourself!

How many times have we crumpled up that perfectly-recyclable piece of paper or chucked plastic bottles into non-recycling bins? I’m definitely guilty on both counts, if my bin is anything to judge by! To combat wastage and raise awareness, IPC Shopping Centre in conjunction with FEMALE Magazine, recently held the IPC Eco-Heroes competition to see who could come up with the most innovative eco-friendly designs. The eight Eco-Hero winners tell us how they were inspired to take a step towards the ‘greener’ side.  

 

Norlela Ali

Design: Recycled self-watering plastic bottle planter for Vietnamese mint (daun kesum) plant

FEMALE: Who did you have in mind while crafting your design?

Norlela: “People staying in apartment buildings with no corridors, as they face problems with planting greenery. I came up with the idea of a recycling and self-watering plastic bottle for my Vietnamese mint plant because I don’t gather leaves from it every day. It would be a waste if I only used some of the leaves and the rest of the plant dries up. With this self-watering bottle, the leaves stay fresh for longer.”

F: Who do you hope to see recreating your designs?

N: “My design targets adults and parents who like gardening, especially those staying in apartments and condominiums without corridors or balconies.”

F: Do you have any other eco-hero designs in mind?

N: “Yes, I would like to try out more designs using bottles, like toothbrush holders and for spice storage. I might also try using a cookie tin to create a DIY teabag holder.”

Sze Ming Fong

Design: Woven basket made from plastic bags

FEMALE: Who did you have in mind while crafting your design?

Ming Fong: “My parents. When I was younger, my parents collected recycled materials to support our living expenses; from that I learnt how to differentiate between materials that can be recycled and those that can’t. My mum would also buy recycled stationery for me. That’s how I learnt to create this design; I hope people realise we can reuse plastic bags to create something useful.”

F: Who do you hope to see recreating your designs?

M: “Every single person can recreate this design. [During the creative process] I realised these plastic bags can have a new life as baskets or be reused as shopping bags. I hope people will learn to reuse plastic bags to reduce waste.”

F: Do you have any other eco-designs in mind?

M: “Yes; I still continue to collect plastic bags. I plan to make a bag for my water bottle and lunchbox. I think these creations will be convenient and functional for me. I hope they will also let people be conscious of the fact that plastic bags can be reused in a useful way, so they won’t go to waste anymore.”

Sharifah Hazwani 

Design: Cardboard box cat ‘tree house’ climber

FEMALE: Why is recycling/reusing so important to you?

Sharifah: “It is really important not to waste any useful or recyclable items because it is good for nature and helps us enforce a greener lifestyle. Instead of throwing things away, we should reuse them for other purposes.”  

F: What do you find yourself wasting the most, and how do you think you can cut down the wastage?

S: “Plastic bags. Next time, I will bring along my own bags or use [eco-friendly] bags every time I go shopping.”

F: What do you plan to spend your prize gift card on?

S: “I would like to spend it on an IKEA Greenhouse set as I really love planting and it’ll be good for the environment too.”

 

Nor Azah Ali 

Design: Plastic bottle coin bank

FEMALE: Who did you have in mind while crafting your design?

Azah: “I thought of my students and my own children. This might inspire them if they choose to enter design competitions held in school and during learning sessions.”

F: Who do you hope to see recreating your designs?

A: “I hope my designs will be seen by children in kindergarten, primary and secondary schools or even students in universities, parents and readers of FEMALE magazine!”

F: Do you have any other eco-designs in mind?

A: “Yes, I’ll have to think of some more; I hope I will not run out of eco-design ideas.”

Yeng Jen-May 

Design: Earring holder

FEMALE: Who did you have in mind while crafting your design?

Jen-May: “When I was making my earring holder, I thought about how I can help my husband save some money, as I had just given up my career to look after our first child. I had always wanted a proper way to hang my earrings and we had checked out readymade earring holders but they are not cheap, so I never got around to getting any. Finally, I had the idea of making my own using leftover items. It feels good that it hardly cost me anything! Both holders are my original ideas, not copied from any craft tutorials.”

F: Who do you hope to see recreating your designs?

J: “My late mother was very good at art and very resourceful. She has and will forever be my inspiration. I guess I inherited some of her creative genes! I hope to pass on her legacy to my daughter, who is her first grandchild.”

F: Do you have any other eco-designs in mind?

J: “My next project would be related to my vegetable garden, which I recently started. I don’t have many pots, so I plan to use whatever containers I have that would normally be dropped into the recycle bin. I need to build a trellis for the crawling plants; for that, I plan to use all the balloon sticks that my toddler has been collecting each time she visits the mall.”

Seri Nor Hajrah Ahmad

Design: Doll’s playhouse made from liquid detergent bottle

FEMALE: How have your recycling habits changed since finding out about this competition?

Hajrah: “I started recycling a year ago. When I found out about the competition, I found an opportunity to re-use the items I had saved before. This competition encouraged me to re-use and create more usable items from recycled materials.”

F: Did you work on your design alone or did you have help or inspiration from family members and friends?

H: “I found my inspiration from Pinterest, then I tried to design [my creation] according to my liking. My husband helped me.”

F: What do you think about recycling in Malaysia? Is there anything we can improve on?

H: “I think people are more aware about the importance of recycling these days. I would suggest more awareness campaigns at schools or in public places, more recycle bins, especially in residential areas, and more competitions to encourage people to re-use recycle materials.”

Nur Azreen Binti Mohd Ali

Design: Kids’ table lamp (made from shampoo bottle)*

*Note: For this design, we recommend using LED light bulbs. Regular light bulbs will heat up the bottle and cause the release of carcinogenic gas, which is unhealthy for both humans and the environment.  

FEMALE: How have your recycling habits changed since finding out about this competition?

Azreen: “Ever since I found out about this competition, I’ve realised that I can do lots of things with my waste, especially plastic bottles. It makes me think twice before throwing them out. Now, I will separate them in different plastic bags.”

F: Did you work on your design alone or did you have help/inspiration from family members or friends?

A: “I worked on my design alone. My inspiration always comes from environmental art, which uses recycled products to create wonderful pieces of art. In fact, it’s also a practical and cost-saving technique that everyone should try at home.”

F: What do you think about recycling in Malaysia? Is there anything we can improve on? 

A: “I believe there is widespread awareness of recycling in Malaysia. However, the majority of us still don’t demonstrate these ideas in real life. I hope [both others and I] can show our creative inventions made from recycled items to the public, so that it will spark everyone’s interest to join in with the joy of recycling together.”

Low Chai Har

Design: Milk carton Minion figurine

Chai Har created her design using a HL milk carton, recyclable materials and paint. She explains her procedure below:

  1. Draft your design
  2. Cut out the mouth shape
  3. Colour (paints, markers or any preferred material)
  4. Attach accessories (eyes, hands, teeth, etc.)

And you’re done!

Chai Har says of her creation, “Kids will love this design!”

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