What does it take… to be an environmental activist?

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Do you have a life ambition? Learning from those who have achieved their goals can help your path to success. This month, we talk with Shanghai-based textile designer and environmental activist, Monique Maissan

How did you get involved in the environment?

In 2012, after recognising the need for everyone to step up and do their part to help the environment, I founded Waste2Wear to provide textiles made out of recycled plastic bottles. We are breaking the mould for sustainability and eco-friendly practices in the textile industry.

 

Why did you choose your career?

“My motto is the purpose of life is a life of purpose. I want to make the world a better place for my children. We have done such a bad job polluting it in the last 30 to 40 years. I hope I can contribute to a mind-shift on how people should use resources and let them realise that if we continue to go on like this, our children’s children, and certainly their children, will not have many of the things and species we take for granted when they grow up.”

 

What had been the best thing about the project?

Waste2Wear has been making waves in the media and global sustainability community, having been awarded the European Economic and Social Committee’s Award for Sustainability in September 2014. ‘The Green Hijab,’ a highly successful product launched in Malaysia in 2014 has become incredibly popular, and our amazing “Green Pillow” made from 82 recycled bottles is being launched to expand the brand worldwide.

 

What inspires you?

People who selflessly use their effort and abilities to work for a good cause. No matter how small; if you improve somebody’s livelihood, or environment, I believe that you are doing what we are supposed to be doing here on this planet. The oceans are polluted; the landfills are growing, so unless we start cleaning this up and stop continuing this we have ruined their chance of a nice world to live in.

 

What are your plans for the future?

At Waste2Wear we continue to innovate and create exciting opportunities across the globe. The future looks bright, as a new concept and social enterprise called Waste2Weave is helping to dramatically change the lives of women in India. I am also heavily involved with charity work, such as Kanthari in India, Operation Blessing, and Braille Without Borders.

 

Who would your ideal lunch companions be?

Top of the list would be Mahatma Gandhi and Richard Branson. From Ghandi I would hope to learn how to keep going and how to keep your goal in sight, even when it is getting really hard to do so. I would also ask for some tips on our project in India where we work with the exact same industry of women who let him decide to wear the cloth wrapped around him as a garment to draw attention to his cause.

From Branson, I would like to learn how to grow companies to a large level and still keep the relentless energy to go on developing new businesses that innovate and develop new ideas to improve life on our planet. With that insight, I would love to create even more projects to help to protect the planet’s future.

 

To learn more about Monique Maissan and Waste2Wear’s work, visit waste2wear.com

 

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