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Double Ugou: We aspire to inspire others to start low waste lifestyle

WHO would have thought that a certain viral video of a turtle that had a plastic straw stuck in its nose, could cause a change of heart and a complete change of lifestyle in someone?

That is the real story behind the making of Double Ugou, a name started by two young woman that sells zero waste essentials aspiring to promote plastic-free lifestyle.

Started with only bamboo straws at the dawn of their enterprising effort, now has bloomed to many other ‘green’ essentials such as eco-shopping bags, wooden spork, bamboo toothbrush, bamboo cottonbuds, drawstring bags and many others. They have recently been featured in local TV Okey for this very effort.

Roslia Dumis, 32 hailed from Inanam and Rosevia Francis, 29, from Keningau, studied at the same University and are now lecturers at a local University in KK. They started Double Ugou in 2018 to inspire others to start a low waste lifestyle, not so much through words, but more effectively through action.

Tell us how you start Double Ugou.

Rosevia: “When we saw the viral turtle video, we cried because we are sensitive towards things like that. Immediately it made us think about our role as a human being and how we can help to make the environment a better place to live as we are all part of it.

Bamboo Straws

“So we started thinking and we said why not we use our natural resources such as bamboo to replace plastic straw, so our first product is the bamboo straw.

“That was the start of Double Ugou.”

Is that the start of a zero waste lifestyle for both of you?

Rosevia: “To say that we are living a zero waste lifestyle is not quite accurate, we are leading a low waste lifestyle. At home, we are using our own products as daily essentials. We use our own shopping bags and the bamboo toothbrush at home. We switched to natural dish scrub that is the loofah instead of the plastic scrub.

Loofah sponge for dishes

“We don’t go to the extreme to push others, some would get angry when they saw you use plastic. We believe in small steps. For example we encourage people to use ecobag.

“Even if you forgot to bring it this time, it’s okay, you can always bring it next time, at least there is an awareness.

“We aspire to inspire others to start a low waste living, it’s hard to jump straight to zero waste.”

Roslia: “It’s a real joy practicing low waste living, for example when I go to the supermarket and I refuse plastics offered by the counter, it’s a kind of peace in the heart.”

What are the challenges to start a low waste lifestyle?

Rosevia: “It was hard in the begining. At first people laughed at us, especially when they saw that we are selling and using bamboo straws. But we persevered and when my family and relatives saw this, they followed.

“As we know, a family is made up of different personalities, not all members can accept this choice of lifestyle. But I realized that when I started to use different materials, and they saw it, it has opened their eyes and they’ve slowly started to follow (practicing low waste). So yes I can say that now we are living a low waste lifestyle at home, and I have 11 siblings altogether.”

Roslia: “To start this lifestyle, the role of a family is important. If there is no support, the child will feel small, and they will try to find support from outside. It is harder to start in a traditional family because this is not a usual practice.”

How is your family’s acceptance now on what you are doing?

Roslia: “I’m very grateful because my family is very supportive. When I told them that I am living a low waste lifestyle, they accepted it well, eventhough they didn’t understand it, but they supported me. This made me want to do more.

“But old folks are hard (to change). I show them slowly, I would say “Mom, don’t take plastic anymore, just use this (ecobag).”

“For example also they like to burn rubbish, so I would explain to my mom about the effects of burning to the air as she has little understanding about these things.”

Rosevia: “Now my mom would send me pictures of her making ecobricks. My brothers bought our products. Then at home we would have sharing session, I would show my nieces and nephews videos like the turtle video.

“It’s good to educate the young, to give awareness to them on importance of going low waste at an early age.

“Now, whenever I forgot to bring my bamboo straw and the waitress brought my drinks with plastic straw in it, my niece/nephew would remind me to not use it.

“Start small, we would not see the impact immediately. It is challenging, what more in the kampung, because it’s new.”

Tell us about your products.

Rosevia: “We design most of our products and the packaging. Roslia did most of the designing. The good thing about following zero waste or low waste lifestyle, we can get to know local communities who are also doing the same thing.

Wooden Sporks

“For example we find local Sabahans to make this wooden spork. We encourage them to produce green products like this. Our bamboo straws are produced by a local from Tamparuli, who is also our friend”.

Roslia: “Ideas (designs) are hard coming in the early stage. I have to think about the colour, there had to be lots of idea development. So the reason why our designs are only in black and white because we don’t want to use lots of colours, it will help minimize impacts on printing.”

What are your hopes?

Double Ugou at  their usual marketplace, Jesselton Artisan Market (JAM), Riverson, KK

“We hope that there will be many more people start being aware that this kind of lifestyle will help the environment. Even a small step like refusing plastic straw, we believe will ripple to a bigger impact. We hope  that more people will use bamboo straws like the one that we are selling, or metal straw, as long as it is not plastic straw. Small steps lead to big changes.”  Linda Edward

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