lisbon, portugal: garbags

One of my favorite parts of traveling alone is leaving the hostel in the morning with no phone service and no idea where I am going. I have found so many amazing people and places by just going with the flow into the unknown. One day in Lisbon, I found myself walking through Alfama, the incredibly beautiful old town portion of the city. I took this photo on my walk up the street because of spotting the hang-drying clothes! Large parts of Europe save a ton of energy by hang-drying instead of using dryers and it is seen all throughout the city (plus- it adds a ton of colour!!). It was not until my walk down that I noticed this store garbags! Immediately intrigued by "upcycled" in the title, I wandered in. 

I immediately fell in love with this store! The model is such: people in the community bring their used packages to garbags and the store upcycles the material into goods- from notebooks to belts to bags and more. People who donate their trash are incentivized with a rewards program to get merchandise after bringing a certain amount. Those that purchase the goods get a piece of the city all while doing good for the environment. I purchased a coin wallet made out of a LIsbon metro map and it became quite helpful along the way!

To date, garbags has used 165,000 packages saving on average 31,40 kg of CO2 emission!!

 A section of the store's products- dog food/toothpaste/cereal, etc. converted into such practical and beautiful things

A section of the store's products- dog food/toothpaste/cereal, etc. converted into such practical and beautiful things

 garbag's even details the facts and impacts of the cause throughout the store. Portugal has one of the lowest recycling rates in Europe (19%) but garbag's is working to change that!!

garbag's even details the facts and impacts of the cause throughout the store. Portugal has one of the lowest recycling rates in Europe (19%) but garbag's is working to change that!!

 The most helpful transparency of the product process!!!

The most helpful transparency of the product process!!!

I spent over an hour in the store speaking to the owner, Tania, and another woman shopping. The woman shopping happened to be from Boston and was visiting the farm she bought in Portugal 20 years ago when she quit her job, went backpacking and leapt at a citrus farm!!! (I definitely got some ideas :)). Tania was so sweet, open and inspiring. She reflected on her own consumption and from traveling how much trash can be accumulated and how she wanted to do something about it. Five years ago she started garbags and has prevented so much waste ever since!!! She has done infinite amounts for the community in terms of local/global impact in sustainability and job opportunities. http://www.garbags.eu/ 

Each and every part of the store was so detailed, well-thought out and served a purpose. Tania and her business provided me with so much inspiration for the future!!

 Even the wrapping was upcycled from magazines! This held the notebook I bought.   @wordsmeetwalls this package was serendipitous! 

Even the wrapping was upcycled from magazines! This held the notebook I bought. 

@wordsmeetwalls this package was serendipitous! 

Lauren WittigComment