plastic wrappers in a pile


Hannah Hodson



Cleaning the environment…30 wrappers at a time

We use on average 30 waste polyethylene plastic biscuit and other food wrappers to create every single Tovi notebook.  Every single notebook cover is unique as it is handmade and depends on exactly which food wrappers are used.  The plastic waste from multi-colour plastic food wrappers is broadly considered un-recyclable and, given the mixture of plastics used and different colours used, harder to recycle without significant inputs.

Every single Tovi notebook is made by hand, from the paper to the plastic covers.  We don’t use an industrial recycling mega factory which often add to the environmental costs, but a grass roots initiative based in an Sri Lankan village.  Using a low tech, artisanal and local approach to help be part of the solution with global plastic waste problem.

We work with food manufacturers to collect their plastic waste also we pay fair wages for community members to bring us their plastic waste for recycling and transformation into Tovi plastic notebook covers.  Working by hand to sort and clean the plastic waste, we then shred the plastic into small pieces (2mm – 4mm) before using our heat press to transform the waste into large plastic sheets.  These are the cut to an A5 size for our notebook covers.

mold of recyled plastic about to enter heat press
One of Tovi Gifts local Sri Lankan artists using a handmade press method to make our the A5 Plastic Covers for our Notebooks.

We know it is possible to have a direct, measurable impact on saving the environment and at the same time to have a significant financial impact on the extended Tovi Family in Sri Lanka – from our plastic waste collectors, the artisans who recycle the plastic, our elephant dung paper makers and the small team who assemble the finished notebooks. 

For every 100x notebooks that we ship worldwide:

  • 3,000 waste plastic food wrappers are recycled into notebook covers (not burned or put in landfill)
  • We provide a really good income for 2x families for a full month
  • We help protect the Sri Lankan elephant population by paying for their dung

The micro-benefits continue through the in-direct employment of Tuk Tuk drivers, the team who make our packaging and the many others involved in the creation of the Tovi Plastic notebooks.  When you extend the above benefits to thousand of notebooks per month (and maybe one day tens of thousands) then the simple but beautiful Tovi recycled plastic notebooks can have a profound impact on both the environment and the livelihood of our extended family.

Every Notebook cover is unique and are slightly different, as the final recycled plastic covers are a combination of different colour plastics used on the outside of food wrappers plus the silver lining used on the inside.  Bright pops of colour remind you every day how you are part of the solution.

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