Posted by Miguel Juanez On October - 27 - 2016 0 Comment

Southwest Airlines and FWOP Cooperate : Recycling to expand human development

Thanks to Southwest Airlines, our first effort is focused on recycling the old leather seats of airplanes. Some dozen sites in Texas, Missouri and Virginia are exploring how the discarded leather can be used  and “upcycled”, that is, create new uses for the leather.

A middle school in Dallas, the Advanced Technical Center in Denton, the UNT Fiber Collective, an arts program in Dallas, a private women’s bag company in Dallas, a 4 H Center in Virginia, and finally, Arbor Health rehabilitation with many veterans in St. Louis have so far agreed to cooperate.

Arbor Health with its strong art therapy focus and the garden program in partnership with Home Depot and Monsanto has been working with glass, murals, leather and metal to create products designed  by veterans and others. Printing 4 Vets is  a small business created to provide some jobs for residents at Arbor Health.  Recently the residents  started  to create wallets out of leather. As you can imagine, they were very excited to receive used leather from Southwest Airlines.

A retired Marine has joined Arbor Health team to expand the initial initiative. He is the founder of Always Green Recycling whose goal is to hire residents, help them gain independence, and hold down a job.  He has agreed to store the leather seats and recycle the foam and other bi-products from the seats — approximately 26 pallets of leather– once they are shipped to St. Louis later this month (October).

Always Green

Their plan is to break the seats down into workable pieces, then distribute them to other FWOP affiliates,  keeping  some for their artwork,  and using some for re-purposed leather goods that can be sold.

emerging-initiatives-2The picture on the right shows leather strips from Southwest Airlines seats.



In memory of Tyler Faul.

In memory of Tyler Faul.

Ripley Gourmet Tortilla, Brown County, Ohio: Micro Business Sponsored by FWOP

Nearly 10 years ago,  Syl Flores, Founder of FWOP moved to Ripley Ohio  and some five years ago he founded a business to employ locals unemployed youth and adults. Ripley is an economically depressed town in Brown County, the poorest county in Ohio with the highest drug overdose rate in the state.

Syl Flores and a dedicated team of individuals started the Ripley’s Gourment Tortilla Factory, a social enterprise/manufacturing business, to serve burritos and make tortillas for retail sale.  Stop buy or contact them about securing an order.

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A few weeks ago Polly Campbell, Cincinnati Enquirer’s food critic, paid his team a surprise visit.  A number of people told Syl that over the 20+years as a food critic Polly had become an icon. Presumably, depending on what Polly writes, it will either engrave a restaurant’s long-term reputation positively or negatively.  She gave his team a vote of confidence!  Please check out what Cincinnati Enquirer’s Polly Campbell wrote.

Solar Initiative

Solar lamps and solar cell phones charger have been shipped to Indonesia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Costa Rica recently.  Uganda FWOP has distributed some 400 lamps to rural elders and children. A solar street lamp is on its way to Uganda and the director will visit villages to see how we serve the needs in the village.


Locally in Denton,  we discovered that quilters find the solar lamps useful to do their work.  Some 40 lamps were sold at a conference to support FWOP international solar lamp initiative. The  UNT FWOP student chapter have organized two seminars  on campus this term.

First, they hosted a film “ Poverty Inc.”  Some 30 UNT students attended the session in the Union.   you can review the trailer of the film. The film provide a good analysis on how aid programs can hurt local development and enterprise in Haiti  and around the world.

Second, Karen Mc Daniels of from Denton showed a film on the project in Jakarta,  in a trash pickers community. Learn more at the links below and be sure to connect with us to be part of this work.


About Miguel Juanez

Miguel Juanez has written 29 post for this site.


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