By Paul Ndiho
December 14, 2011
A Ugandan company is turning what otherwise might end up in the trash into some very useful products, and quickly becoming the leading producer of environmentally-friendly products in the region.
For the conservation-minded, plastic bags are a blight on the environment causing waste in landfills and harmful pollution in the oceans. But ORIBAGS INNOVATIONS offers an eco-friendly alternative to the polythene bag. It manufactures a type of biodegradable paper bag, and other products from agricultural waste. Rusia Orikiriza is the CEO of Oribags Innovations.
“We are Liability Company meant for profit and we are into recycling of agricultural waste, such as banana fiber, pineapple waste, and everything that is regarded as waste as long as it’s not metal and aluminum. We do produce paper, its handmade paper and we craft the products like, eco bags, visitor’s books, art paper, every kind of cards and also being a social enterprise, we do community programs geared at helping women in the community.”
Orikiriza says her company turns agricultural by-products and other paper waste into decorative and professional paper stationery, manufactured in harmony with nature and personalized to the client’s needs.
“If we are making a paper bag, after drying the paper, we have to smoothen it because if it dries under normal sun, the paper will be very hard and strong and so we use rollers to smoothen it and make our paper smooth. Then after that we do the measurement according to the standard size of a client. And then after we’ve done that we do the printing because they must be personalized according to the clients address, logo, or a specific trendy word that you need on the Eco bag.”
Oribags have been recognized as eco-friendly by the United Nations Environmental Program and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. And its future in the competitive marketplace looks promising. Since its founding in 2008, the company has already substantially expanded its presence outside the local community.
“Currently we supply supermarkets and embassies which have already embraced the utilization of the Eco bags.”
Rusia Orikiriza’s innovative products are not only helping the environment, her company is helping empower women through skills development programs for entrepreneurs.