By Amal Alhomsi
Recycled Newspaper Bags
earing pink cat-eared hats, the ten-year old twins, Kokoro & Mirai, stood next to each other in the shade and spoke synchronously. They had just sold out of all their 66 upcycled bags that they made for the day. “We made a lot of money today!” Kokoro laughed. Using newspapers they collect from around town, the twins choose “the most interesting pages” and collage them into a colorful upcycled bag which they sell for $2. “We fold the newspapers and we glue them to make the bags,” said Kokoro only for Mirai to finish her sister’s thought, “and then we roll the rest to make the handles.” When I asked the twins, “when did you start your bag business?” They slanted their heads at one another, “hmmmmm, no clue!”
The Recycled Newspaper Bags Co sprouted out of a sustainability class that the twins took in school. In the 2021 Banff farmer’s market, the twins sold 250 bags in total. “Are you doing this for the environment?” I asked the twins while they sipped their iced teas, and the candidness of their answer is one that most ecologists lack. “Yes,” replied Mirai, “but we also want money!” Mirai and Kokoro are saving up for a trip to Hawaii: “We always go to Japan to see our grandparents and then we don’t have any money left to go to Hawaii.” A friend of the two siblings went to Hawaii and told them about it, which made the twins yearn for a visit. “What does sustainability mean to you?” I asked. “It means helping the world,” Mirai replied, and, maybe sometimes, it also means going to Hawaii. If you see the adorable twins at the market, buy a bag from them and help them fund their Hawaii dream.