Celebrating Sustainable Practices in the AAPI Community
By Kimmy Ngo
We’re at the end of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and some of our team members here at Verdical Group wanted to share sustainability practices ingrained into their cultural upbringing.
Although their backgrounds span across various regions of Asia, our staff can testify to very similar experiences of recycling, upcycling, or promoting low-waste practices in their households. It wasn’t a conscious lesson taught by their parents – it has simply been a way of life for as long as they can remember.
“Don’t waste” seems to be the overarching theme taught in our team members’ childhoods.
A Walk Down Memory Lane
VG’s Project Manager & Energy Analyst, Ritika, recalls her Indian family upcycling clothes for a number of uses as she grew up: outgrown clothes were passed down to younger relatives, worn down t-shirts were cut into small pieces and repurposed as cleaning rags for the house, while the fabric from her mom’s old saree were used to stitch up shirts, dresses, and skirts.
Wenrui, Commissioning Associate, shared fond memories of growing up on his family’s farm in rural China. After clothes were washed, his family would take the water used to irrigate their crops. Any leftover or redundant crops would later be used to feed their livestock rather than let them go to waste.
Our Director of Energy & Carbon, Sara, revealed how it’s very taboo in Persian culture to use disposable dishware and utensils. It’s a huge no-no and seen as disrespectful to guests!
Kimmy, Marketing & Events Associate, grew up with a mom who was a seamstress for a company that manufactured hospital mattresses. She remembered how her mom often ended up with a surplus of fabric after completing her work. With the fabric so durable and thick, her mom would sew luggage bags in a number of sizes. Anytime relatives were traveling to Vietnam, her mom would lend them these luggages to store all of the gifts they were bringing with them. When flying back to the States, these bags could easily be folded up to bring home.
Coming from a Filipino background, our Marketing & Social Media Intern, Ry, loved the way their grandma would take strips of old shirts and weave them into a new patchwork shirt. The adjacent image is an example of what these amazing upcycled garments would look like!
Although each team member’s stories were unique, they all shared the same experiences of seeing their families reuse containers. It wasn’t uncommon to find items in cookie tins that weren’t cookies or opening up a can of coffee grinds to find flour.
We love hearing these stories from our team members and how sustainability was intertwined into their upbringings in so many creative and resourceful ways. Though these practices were used in everyday life, sustainability wasn’t a concept that was explicitly discussed. Our team members are determined to undo that and turn these cultural practices into conscious lessons for future generations to come!
In honor of AAPI Heritage Month, Verdical Group has chosen to donate to Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), an organization whose mission is to develop an alternative agenda for environmental, social and economic justice. To learn more about APEN and their work in building healthy and clean environments, visit here.