“Great Love for all sentient beings, appreciate Mother Earth, and technology humanitarianism.”
Such is the underlying philosophy that carries DaAi Technology Co. into the future. Through its research into making a mere plastic bottle of great use to society, the company carries the flag of Tzu Chi’s environmental advocacy. At the same time, by donating the proceeds to Tzu Chi’s humanitarian work, it lives up to its name of “da ai” or “great love,” which has defined Tzu Chi by name since its humble beginnings.
The three-day Taiwan Expo in the Philippines provides DaAi Technology representatives the proper forum to share the brand to locals and foreigners alike. From the company’s office in Taipei, eight representatives feature an assortment of wares, ranging from clothing to luggage, all of which are made out of recyclable materials.
The representatives also arranged a brief fashion show on the second day, explaining DaAi Technology’s approach to its advocacy.
The consensus among the expo’s visitors has been one of astonishment. They’ve never heard of technology that can turn at least six plastic bottles into a shirt, much less twelve bottles for a long-sleeved top. They’ve also admired the versatility of some of the items like a laptop bag that doubles as a solar-powered power bank.
Lennie Santos-Borja bought a shoulder bag from DaAi technology to show to her colleagues at the Laguna Lake Development Authority. This government agency oversees the preservation of Laguna Lake, one of the main sources of irrigation and aquaculture in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
The six bottles recycled cuts 380 grams of carbon dioxide and saves 97 mL of crude oil and 16 liters of water, according to DaAi Technology estimates.
“My colleague and I are impressed with the intent of DaAi Technology Company. We are actually promoting proper solid waste management and recycling. The product can be a very good example when we do our information campaign to the different communities and local government units,” says Borja.
Borja also adds that she doesn’t mind the price tag on the shoulder bag, knowing that the sale is for a worthy cause.
“It will go to a foundation, so this isn’t really an expense for me but rather a donation,” she adds.
Among the visitors to the DaAi Technology exhibit are interested stakeholders. A businessman for a conglomerate based in Kuwait, Iran Jayalakshana keeps an eye for products that promote sustainability. In an age of continued economic boom, he sees a bright future for the myriad of products made with Mother Nature in mind.
“Normally, [the things we do] everyday are destroying our world. We don’t understand that part. But if we go to these kinds of products, we understand very much. How valuable nature is and how we can reduce our waste,” he says.
Made for volunteers
The source of inspiration in the design and crafting of DaAi Technology’s line of versatility stems from the need of the typical Tzu Chi volunteer in action.
Jasmine Li, sales representative for DaAi Technology, explains that the idea for their products takes into account the needs of volunteers when surveying disaster areas. As an area struck by calamity can remain without power or running water for days, DaAi Technology designs an item that not only carries the volunteers’ gear but also generates its own power on the fly. This can be seen in one of their bags equipped with a small solar panel, attached to a power bank.
“They can have electricity generated from solar power to charge their smart phones and tablets to be able to communicate with the foundation,” Li explains.
As DaAi Technology expands to market its products beyond Tzu Chi volunteers, Master Cheng Yen constantly reminds them to continue making innovations while taking a person’s suffering in mind. She tells them to carry on with a compassionate heart.
“[Dharma Master Cheng Yen] always tells us to have a compassionate heart, as well as the understanding of the patient. You got to put yourself in his or her situation and feel what they feel. That’s when you know what to design and invent,” Li adds.
With this expansion also comes increase in production, which also includes wastage. In light of this, DaAi Technology also comes up with new processes to make sure even production waste is put to good use. Case in point: the sunglasses made from discarded fabric from production of thermal blankets.
This “closed loop,” Li says, enables the company to recycle more than once.
“When the material has been used, there is no waste,” she adds.
Pollution is expected to remain a serious issue in the coming years, especially in developing nations like the Philippines. With DaAi Technology’s exhibit in the expo, it hopes to help raise awareness of the “great love” technology making steady strides for a cleaner, greener world.
The DaAi Technology booth at the Taiwan Expo on September 29, just before lunchtime. With a wide array of products made with recyclable materials, the booth generated a lot of buzz over the course of the expo. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Visitors check out the spread of bags and shirts made with recyclables. For many, they have no idea that such things can be made, much less for the cause of protecting Mother Nature. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Businessman Iran Jayalakshana tries on a pair of sunglasses made with the excess fabric from the production of thermal blankets. The sunglasses are designed with a big frame so that they can be worn over corrective glasses without discomfort. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Lennie Santos-Borja (left) pays for her new DaAi Technology handbag. An employee at the Laguna Lake Development Authority, Borja plans to show the handbag to her colleagues and explain the technology that made it possible. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Students from various schools attended the expo, mainly in search of good colleges in Taiwan. As they pass by the DaAi Technology booth, a Tzu Chi volunteer shows them the pellets from which the fabric would be manufactured. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
DaAi Technology sales representative Jasmine Li speaks about the benefits of “compassion technology” during the fashion show on September 30. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
From plastic bottles to shirts, “compassion technology” makes it possible for solid waste to be turned into something useful. For instance, the shirts these volunteers wear are made out of at least six plastic bottles. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
DaAi Technology also features other apparel like sunglasses, caps, and even this travel bag. Like the solar-powered caps, the travel bag also carries a solar panel wired to a power bank inside. Users can charge their gadgets on the go. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】