Jacinto & Lirio: Making Sustainable “Leather” From Water Hyacinth

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Jacinto and Lirio: Making Sustainable Leather From Water Hyacinth

Water hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes) are free-floating aquatic plants which grow so fast they can easily double their population in a matter of 2 weeks. It is for this reason that they are infamously known as pest (invasive) species. If water hyacinths are left uncontrolled, they will eventually cover the entire pond or lake which can deplete oxygen in water. Without enough supply of oxygen, the fish inhabitants of the infested pond or lake will die. This will also affect the livelihood of families who rely on catching fishes as their source of living. Normally, people will just cut the water hyacinths to throw them out or burn them (since they are inedible) and pray really hard that they won’t grow again (but they always do).

Fortunately, a group of young social entrepreneurs has decided to come up with a solution to the increasing water hyacinth infestation problem in areas like Laguna and Rizal. They gave birth to a social enterprise known today as Jacinto & Lirio (which means “Hyacinth” and “Lily”). Instead of throwing out the water hyacinths, Jacinto & Lirio has found a way to transform them into handmade plant-based leather goods which are more eco-friendly than traditional synthetic or animal leathers. Moreover, they aim to empower the families affected by the water hyacinth infestation by providing them livelihood opportunities. It’s like killing two birds with one stone. They have managed to solve two problems with one single action.

Hands down, the people behind Jacinto & Lirio really took time and effort to research on how to turn something considered as useless and pest into something useful. If you will take a look at their water hyacinth leatherization process, it’s not an easy feat as there are several steps involved from sun-drying the plant stalks to manually sewing them to form a sturdy plant-based leather. Their products boast of stylish, unique and multi-functional designs which are perfect for millennials who are always on-the-go.

Here are some of their amazing eco-friendly products (check their website for a complete list of what they offer).

1. Jacinto & Lirio Lakbay Travel Kit (Php 550.00)

This is perfect for travelers who want to keep all of their travel essentials in one portable and lightweight organizer. It has passport holder and front pocket where you can put stuff that you want easy-access like boarding pass. There is also a zippered pocket at the back to store paper bills, coins and other smaller items (e.g. receipts). 

2. Jacinto & Lirio Laro Customizable Planner (Php 909.00 – 1,049.00)

This is not your ordinary planner because it has so many functions. Aside from the planner itself, it has both photo ID and card holders (ideal for ATM cards). Moreover, it has a removable pouch where you can store small items like paper bills, coins, mobile phone, powerbank, etc. In case you need more space for writing, you can even insert an additional notebook into the planner. Their planner/notebook sheets are also watercolor and calligraphy ink-friendly.

3.  Jacinto & Lirio Burda Resizable Laptop Wrap (Php 1,135.00)

If you want to carry your laptop and tablet in style, this resizable wrap is exactly what you need. Its body is made out of polyester fabric which is durable and wrinkle-resistant and is accented with water hyacinth plant leather. It even has a zippered pocket at the back for storing power cords. It can fit most tablets and laptops (10 – 13” in size). For smaller mobile gadgets (e.g. smartphone, powerbank, etc.), there is also Burda Mini Resizable Wrap.

Aside from the products mentioned above, Jacinto & Lirio also sells other items made from eco-friendly materials like bags, journals, notebooks, wallets, iPad covers, among others. So if you’re looking for environment-friendly gifts (that are proudly Filipino-made) to be given to your family and friends this holiday season, then you can purchase Jacinto & Lirio products from the following websites:

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