(Hello to Jen, one of the writers trying out for a spot on the Re-Nest editorial team. Comments are welcome!)
"Don't drink the water." During a recent trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, we learned that mantra the hard way, and soon after, the empty bottles began piling up. So when we spotted these journals in handicrafts store Rajana we immediately felt better.
Craftspeople use the discarded plastic to make the tough, yet flexible covers for the pocket sized notebooks. (You could try making your own with laundry detergent bottles.) They also hand-make the paper and use local, sustainable palm leaves to weave the string that doubles as the binding and pencil leash. At $1.50, the price isn't that much more than an actual bottle of water--and because the locally-run store gives work to 75 impoverished families, we scooped up several to take home as gifts.
Additionally, Rajana, which means "design" in the Khmer language, sells handmade cards, pottery, and (another of our favorites) jewelry made from recovered land mines.
More info: Rajana