A group of Communist Party members in Shanghai have won recognition for their grassroots initiatives, which include a decade of weaving with waste. Discarded rubbish is turned into useful items for community residents thanks to the skillful hands of the “Green Housewives.”

“We are not necessarily wealthy, but many of us have plenty of time,” said Shang Yanhua, Party head of one residential community.

Jiang Mei Gui started the recycling effort in 2005 and recruited a few other women to join her, but now there are many hundreds of wives and retired people collecting and sorting thousands of kilos of trash every month.

They sew together discarded packaging into aprons, hats, purses, slippers and whatever they can imagine. They also plant community gardens and green roofs.

Green Housewives is now a registered nongovernment organization that has won awards, sewing machines, and thousands of dollars to help with their work.

(READ the new story in Shanghai Daily – and this archived CNN feature story with photos)

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