#4  Waste Innovation - Trashion

Gertrude Gugu Mlanga, 25, is a Malawian innovator and entrepreneur investing in protecting and preserving the environment. Gertrude has always been a passionate artist and says that her love for art and the environment is what has led her down the path of sustainable fashion.
Through her firm, House of Gugu and Trashion, she collects waste (mainly plastics, glass and paper) in cities and recycles them into fashion products, particularly material for making handbags, jewellery, T-Shirts, and home deco items such as wall art paintings and door mats.

She says a large part of the inspiration behind her business was how big business in Malawi seemed to overpower government on policy around the use of single-purpose plastic. She was frustrated by this reality and decided to be the change she wanted to see and took it upon herself to contribute to the reduction of plastics that don’t get recycled as well as to provide employment to local youth in her workshop.
In 2018, she was awarded the 2018 Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Innovations Award and was flown to China for new partnership opportunities.

In the fourth episode of Freedom Pioneers of Africa we feature snippets that aired across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia of Getrude's Trashion. Listers in the participating radio stations were able to give their thoughts on the project and whether it would work if it were to reach their community. Interestingly, listeners also speak about the prospect of doing the same in their environments.
Gertrude also has an opportunity to discusses Trashion with our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.