Ai Nhu in her garden of recycled pots.

During a trip with her sibling, Ai Nhu from Ho Chi Minh City saw people cleaning a lotus pond. Seeing the discarded young lotus buds, Nhu did not hesitate to pick them up and bring them home.

No one was surprised by the young girl's actions because Nhu is known for her ability to reuse and recycle garbage. She is so good at reusing that her living space appears to be made up of things once discarded.

She has decorated and covered a stained wall with her own paintings on cardboard. She also grows ornamental plants, vegetables in Styrofoam boxes, bottles, plastic wrap, candy wrappers, and egg blisters.

Nhu, who learned to sew by hand, has repaired her old bag and poncho. She also has learned how to sew pillows, sheets, and mattresses with rags at home. She eats vegetables grown by sowing seeds in recycled containers, bottles and jars.

She fertilizes them by burying in the ground organic waste from the peels of fruits and vegetables.

Nhu and family members pick up other people's discarded items if they can think of a way to use them. She has used guava seeds for food for turtles and fertilizer for plants.

Since childhood, Nhu has seen her aunt and uncle, although well off, live very frugally, and never give up leftovers. They kept all elastic bands, nylon wires, zinc wires and plastic wrap for reuse.

The 3R principle

Nhu’s green space is planted on old and recycled items.

With the desire not to waste anything, Ai Nhu finds ways to reuse everything around. The search led Nhu to green living and the 3R (Reduce - Reuse - Recycle) principle.

Nhu decided to pursue this lifestyle to reduce the burden on the environment. She started by repurposing old but useful things.

“The years of living green and not wasting resources have helped me not feel guilty about the environment. Going green with sustainable development is the trend that humanity is aiming for, so I'm happy to know I'm doing the right thing," Ai Nhu shared.

 “I am still spreading this way of life by letting myself be an example, a living proof and someone for anyone to contact, who wants to know about going green a little more."

Everything that can be reused is stored by Nhu for later use.

Nhu’s reusable food and drink containers.

Nhu's special banquets for her graduation day.
Nhu's gift showing her green lifestyle to foreign friends.

Ha Nguyen