Sunday, 16 August 2015


Mandy is from Bridgetown, Barbados. For the last four years, she has been running an environmentally friendly business, Octopus Three, which makes recycled paper products, like gift cards and business cards from a mix of waste paper and banana tree waste. She also teaches the children of Barbados how to make recycled paper, and also about environmental issues, through her Environment Education Program. 

Seven years ago, I was talking to my neighbour about recycling. We were in his garden, after dinner, just good company, a nice warm evening as expected in Barbados.  

I’m not sure how the conversation started, but David, my neighbour, who is a very positive and educated man on many topics, started talking about recycling and having recycling bins in the community. 

We didn't have a recycling program in Barbados then—though we do now, we are finally putting that in action, alongside sustainable living. I was born in the UK, where it was familiar to recycle, so being in Barbados and not having recycling, when I threw certain things in the garbage, it always felt strange. 

While talking about recycling with my neighbour, it led me to say that I felt like I wanted to write an environmental magazine, but it had to be made with recycled paper. 

So afterwards, since I am an ‘acting person’, I taught myself how to make paper and started producing cards, business cards etc. 

Before I knew it, I had a recycled paper product business called "Octopus Three", registered in Barbados. 

Recycled paper is made the way paper has always been made. I collect shredded waste paper from offices, break it back down and add banana tree waste, if desired, to make a fresh piece of paper, which is biodegradable. 

In March of this year, I launched my Environment Education Program. It is a 3-day program whereby students get to make recycled paper, and we talk about environmental issues both locally and internationally, and also focus on solutions. EEP creates a fun way of exploring how we live our lives and how that is affecting the planet. 

Education is key to understanding anything, as a parent teaches a child to use a spoon, the same method can be used in Climate Change. First step: put it in their hands. Every piece a paper a child makes in my classroom, I am putting the solution in their hands.

When one of my students at the launch of my EEP program said the best thing about the day was that "the head mistress told me to come". I have and will never forget that moment as long as I live, to be told that by a child who was 6 years old.

The ministry of Education has given me a letter which states I can run this program in every school in the country and as of this September [2015] my first school is the school for the deaf. I want them to have a voice in the discussion.

I would describe myself as an environmentalist. I defined myself as such when I got accepted to go to the Climate Reality Leadership Training in Toronto (July 9-10, 2015). I have never forgotten that night of conversation at my neighbours 7 years ago, and what it has led me to.

1 comment:

  1. Your paper! Your teaching the children! You didn't even mention your program of Zero Waste Barbados and you fight against the waste to energy plant. Woman... you're unstoppable! Proud to be your friend, Cari