Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to common questions about Plastic Fantastic Kenya. If you don’t find the answer to your question, let’s talk! Email us at: info@plasticfantastickenya.com.

UPCYCLED HANDCRAFTS

How do I buy your handcrafts?

Our handcrafts can be purchased online at our Etsy.com page here. For wholesale orders, you can get our catalog here.

The following stores currently carry our handcrafts:

Createavus
Mokoyeti West Road off Langata Road just before Galleria Mall
Nairobi, Kenya

Blackbaye Boutique
545 W. Water St.
Princeton, WI 54968
USA

How am I making a difference in the world when buying your handcrafts?

When you buy our handcrafts, you’re making a difference in a few meaningful ways:

  • You’re buying fair trade. This means that all our items are ethically sourced using just labor practices. When you buy fair trade, not only will you feel good, knowing that everyone who plays a part of our value chain – including those at the “bottom of the pyramid” – are treated fairly and with respect. Furthermore, you are also empowering yourself as a conscious consumer who chooses to take stand against unjust labor practices fueled by corporate greed and the harm it creates in the lives of those responsible for handcrafting your beautiful item. We call this “voting with our dollars”!
  • Traditionally, our economy and the corporations that drive it have thrived on a “throwaway culture.” “Take, Make, Dispose” has been the marching anthem of the industrial process and the consumerist lifestyles that feed upon it. While it is a most effective strategy for economic growth, because earth’s system has finite resources, it is inherently short-sighted and therefore, unsustainable.
  • The “circular economy” is a practical, closed loop solution to the traditional, linear economic system. Deriving insights from earth’s living systems, it is an economic model that focuses on designing out waste in the production and consumption process, rather than allowing it to end up in a landfill, an incinerator, or under a bush. By using the waste of one product we are able to use it as an input for another product. Examples can be seen in the emerging sector of 3D printing, biogas, and Plastic Fantastic Kenya’s upcycled handcrafts!And in case you’re wondering what “upcycling” means, we consider it a “creative reuse” of discarded items. By-products, waste materials, and/or useless and unwanted materials are transformed into products of better quality. Just like how we take plastic waste, sorted at home by our students, and transform it into our fresh, funky, and fantastic Bengal Bangles!
  • You’re tapping into your compassion! Studies show that we can train ourselves to become more compassionate! As Jesah, one of our co-founders loves to say, “The more you do, the more you can do!”
  • Lastly, you join Plastic Fantastic Kenya’s consciously crafted, eco-system, where children, conscious consumers, and artisans interact to create an interdependent community whose empowerment and education relies on the contribution of the others.

Are your handcrafts fair trade?

Plastic Fantastic Kenya abides by the fair trade standards set by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). This means that the creation of our handcrafts are in line with WFTO’s 10 basic human principles that place the interests of the artisans ahead of profit.

After nearly two years of meeting the WFTO’s strict, fair trade standards, Plastic Fantastic Kenya expects full WFTO membership by the end of 2016.

Does PFK buy the plastic it uses to create its handcrafts?

That depends. We do not purchase our plastic new. That said, we do purchase some of our plastic from local waste collectors in Ngong and Nairobi, Kenya. We also acquire our plastic through the recycling campaigns that are part of our children’s education programs in Kenya. As part of our mindfulness education program, the children separate the waste their family creates at the source (in their homes). This contributes to entire family awareness of the waste their household creates. The children then bring the waste to school, Plastic Fantastic Kenya picks it up and then provides it to its artisans, who then craft our upcycled creations.

Where is your jewelry crafted?

Each of our creations are proudly crafted by hand in Kenya.

Do children make your jewelry?

NO! Children take no part in the creation of our handcrafts. The only role children play is through providing Plastic Fantastic Kenya their family’s plastic waste in order for our professional artisans to craft upcycled handcrafts. Additionally, as part of our mindfulness education program the children take part in field trips to Plastic Fantastic Kenya’s artisan workshops, which expose the children to a highly interdependent ecosystem that relies on the children’s participation in our recycling campaign, and shows them firsthand how they impact the lives of the artisans.

EDUCATION & THE ENVIRONMENT

What problem is Plastic Fantastic Kenya trying to solve?

The unskillful view that happiness and fulfillment can be found through consuming more. This view is manifested through unsustainable consumer behavior and in turn has led to widespread environmental destruction, threatening life on earth.

Media and advertising lead us to believe that “the good life” can be found by drinking Coke, buying a new car, and owning a large house. Globally, this has led to unsustainable and unconscious lifestyle habits that contribute to health problems, pollution, and global climate change. Locally, the consumer habits in the west are transmitted to developing countries creating a cultural subjugation in the name of ‘economic progress.’

According to the latest Living Planet Report 2014, humanity is creating a “global overshoot,” consuming 50% more resources than what nature can sustainably renew.

Kenya and other developing countries do not have structures to manage the waste created from consumerism, which in turn, result in unmitigated pollution, such as the sewage being poured into rivers that once were clean.

Furthermore, unconstrained unconscious consumption is reinforced by governments as a means to stimulate economic growth. These socioeconomic messages are also embedded in the educational system. And it is through education that Plastic Fantastic Kenya is on a mission to change the world.

Plastic Fantastic Kenya addresses the fundamental ignorance of human nature that happiness can be found through material wealth.

“Trying to reduce environmental pollution without reducing consumerism is like combating drug trafficking without reducing the drug addiction.” ~ Dr. Jorge Majfud

What exactly do kids learn through your program?

Through our mindfulness education program, we are creating a new generation of changemakers. Beginning from the bottom-up, we teach children using a fun, evidence-based experience. We incorporate mindfulness exercises that support them to self-regulate with empathy for themselves, others, and their community.

Mindfulness as a practice can aid humanity in slowing down from “kneejerk” reactions to its problems and instead empower a response of clarity and wisdom. By giving children tools of mindfulness, their eyes are opened to a larger universe where “success” is less defined by what material possessions they own, and instead more by what values they bring to the relationships with themselves, others’, and their communities.

Incorporated into our program is a plastic recycling campaign, which increases their families’ awareness of how the waste they generate contributes to pollution they see in their local community. Personal habits through conscientious lifestyle choices are also presented in weekly classroom discussions.

The children also participate in field trips to an artisan’s handcraft workshop, a tree growing event, as well as give their “final performance” at Nairobi’s very own, GoDown Art Center. These field trips offer formative experiences for students to recognize the highly interdependent ecosystem that relies on their participation, engages and deepens their connection to a vibrant community, and develops an appreciation of the arts through interacting with local artists and artisans.

How does Plastic Fantastic Kenya affect climate change?

We are not dedicated to addressing climate change – we are dedicated to influencing the misguided beliefs and behaviors that exacerbate climate change.

Plastic Fantastic Kenya is a bottom-up, human-centered educational solution to the climate crisis, and merely utilizes upcycled handcrafts and plastic waste as educational tools that bridge communities which would otherwise never intersect.

We believe that as humans, we extend the internal relationship we have with ourselves out to our external worlds. Therefore, litter on the roadside, sewage being dumped in our rivers, and spectacular consumerist behavior, are simply reflections of our own internal states of mind.

The root problem: our own minds.

Some of the ways we address the root problem:

  • Through evidence-based, mindfulness training, we teach children skillful ways of relating to themselves, others, and their communities
  • Through classroom discussion, field trips, and fun assignments, we connect nebulous terms like global warming, with small everyday habits, tangible and actionable lifestyle activities of conscious consumption
  • Through selling fair trade, upcycled handcrafts, we provide an opportunity for lovers of handcrafted goods to “tap into” their compassion and support an organization creating change in the developing world
  • Our fresh, funky, and fantastic handcrafts also ignite conversation (a crucial element involved in creating change), and serve as statements of support for the emerging circular economy – a powerful solution to the climate change crisis
  • We turn the plastic waste problem into a solution. We use it as an intuitive and accessible tool to communicate how unsustainable consumption affects our health, communities, and environment, and leverage it to create positive habits of low-impact living (i.e. upcycling)

Can I volunteer with your organization?

We’re always happy to consider volunteers! Send us an email to info@plasticfantastickenya.com and let’s have a conversation!

Can you come teach at my kid's school?

Possibly! Let’s talk! Send an email to info@plasticfantastickenya.com with basic details about your school, and what you hope to achieve through our education program, and we’ll get back to you!

Is PFK a charity or non-profit?

No, we are neither. Officially, we are a for-profit organization that places the planet and all its life forms ahead of profit. Unofficially, we like to call ourselves a ‘revolution’ masquerading as a business.

We believe that in order to create the greatest amount of impact, developing transaction based relationships with our clients and customers is much more valuable – and empowering – than relationships based on “handouts.” Furthermore, we strongly believe the “aid” dynamic creates a dilemma where individuals do not value that which they get for free and actually results in dis-empowerment. We believe in trade, not aid!

Do you take donations?

Building a for-profit enterprise in the developing world can be an overwhelming endeavor, especially when done ethically. For that very reason we do accept donations, but only under the condition that we provide a gift in return based on the monetary value of the donation. Email us to learn more at: info@plasticfantastickenya.com