Pictured above, our new mulberry paper producer partners pose in front of a pile of their mulberry paper screens.

During our direct buying trip to Southeast Asia, Jenie and I visited the Saa Paper Village in Chiang Mai, THaihland. Since we go through so many gift bags throughout the year, (hundreds alone in our Fair Trade Action Kits!) we decided to source a 100% eco-friendly alternative. We settled on Saa paper, also known as mulberry paper. The mulberry tree grows in abundance in Thailand, and the village we visited specializes in nothing but mulberry paper products. During the visit, though there was no production at the time, Jenie and I got to learn firsthand the process of production, from boiling down the mulberry to pouring out the material onto screens for the paper to form, before the paper sheets are literally hung out to dry in the yard. My favorite part of the gift bags….the handles. Also made from mulberry, they are very sturdy and rope-like, so hopefully people who receive the bags will want to use them over and over again. The colors are great and the bags are sturdy, so the landfills will have to look elsewhere for excessive amounts of gift bags to fill them up! We’ll also be offering sets of gift bags (three sizes per set) on our website to customers who want to use them as an alternative to wrapping paper. Global Exchange will be introducing our new gift bags this Fall, so keep a lookout!

Written by: Tex Dworkin, Manager of the Global Exchange Fair Trade Online Store