100% natural and remarkably durable, our newly arrived mesh bags and totes are handmade by Khmu artisans in Laos using fiber from a fast-growing vine, Pueraria phaseoloides.This perennial vine self-sows, grows, and re-grows without any cultivation or human intervention. It thrives without any fertilizers, pesticides, or any supplemental water beyond rainfall. As a member of the pea family (Fabaceae), the vine fixes nitrogen from the air into the soil and improves the soil where it grows. It can be planted in completely barren soil on construction-damaged sites, and as it grows, it improves soil fertility and heals the soil tilth, restoring a healthy ecosystem for insects, birds, and wildlife.
The leaves are used as a graze or forage for livestock. The vine's fiber is used to make fishing nets and bags.
According to the United States Forest Service, Net Zero is a goal to reach the point where our business operations are in balance with our environment. While working to promote the Khmu artisans’ handmade products, the JungleVine® Foundation in Luang Prabang, Laos launched the Nature Bag Project, focusing on keeping the carbon footprint of all JungleVine® products as close to zero as they can.
Transportation and Fossil Fuels
Each bag weighs less than 70 grams (2.5 oz.), which is an invaluable part of their light consumption of transportation and fossil fuel resources.
No fossil fuel is used until the finished bags are transported from the acquisition centers to Luang Prabang. The JungleVine® Foundation always use public transportation for the bags within Laos - on passenger busses, bundles of bags are tied on top of the bus or stowed in the luggage hold.
Electricity in northern Laos comes entirely from water and solar sources.
At the foundation's warehousing site in Iowa USA, it requires only a small amount of electricity for the occasional use of energy-efficient lighting. The space, insulated by earth on all sides, does not require heating or cooling. In Iowa, more than 37% of electricity comes from wind power, thus even the small amount of electricity used there is the greenest in the U.S.
Packaging, Shipping and Waste
Most of the containers used to ship to buyers are extremely lightweight, biodegradable, or recycled. Product inserts are on thin small-sized paper.
From beginning to end, the Nature Bag Project creates very little waste. The trash can in their Iowa warehouse, for example, is a tiny 7-gallon waste bin that only needs to be emptied once every six to eight months.
The vine fiber is remarkably strong and durable, so each JungleVine® bag will last a long, long time, and can be reused for many years, perhaps even decades to come. At the end of their long lifespan, all JungleVine® products are biodegradable and can be composted, where soil organisms and earthworms break down the vine fiber and make the elements of the plant material available for re-use by new plants.
A quiet little town on the banks of the Niger River, Segou is known as the capital of mud cloth. Textile designer Boubacar Doumbia built his workshop there 16 years ago, named it Ndomo - which means "the quest for knowledge" in local Bambara language, and welcomed young people who had no opportunity to receive formal education into his collective.
The base material of the Cloud mats and rugs are the edges of cotton fabric, cut from industrial looms. They’re “waste” – a by-product of their weaving patterns – but for the weavers at Barrydale, this raw material is an invaluable ingredient for upcycling.
Itza Wood is a social enterprise in the Petén region of Northern Guatemala. With a team of ten carpenters and coordinators, they have been providing education, employment, and forest conservation to local communities, all through the sales of their handcrafted wood wares.