remembering the past
Since the beginning of time the indigenous Chamoru people of Guåhan viewed Earth and humans as inseparable. They are referred to as Taotao Tano, meaning "People of the Land." Everything the Chamorus had was sourced from nature. Banana leaves were used as plates, coconut trees provided clothing & shelter, latte stones served as foundations for houses, and all the like. The land never failed to provide.
Under the rule of various colonizers, Chamorus were displaced from their lands and introduced to new systems, such as Industrialism- where food & goods were imported from abroad and preserved in packaging. As Chamorus assimilated to a new way of life, traditional skills to connect with the land were left behind. What once was the vital source of existence was lost in the ashes of traditional knowledge as the people were forced to inherit systems of colonization, capitalism, and militarization.
presence of plastic
After the inception of the first dumping site (Ordot Dump), which was established by the U.S Navy in WWIl, the community adopted a throwaway culture of abandonment. Now, more than 90% of goods are imported from abroad, and with that, more waste. Guåhan produces 600,000 lbs of trash per day. This doesn’t include waste from the estimated 1.5 million tourists that visit every year.
The island’s only landfill, built in 2011, has already filled three of its eleven cells. In the past, recyclables were sent to China, but the country was so overburdened with its own trash that it closed its borders from accepting material from abroad. Only two of the seven types of plastic are recyclable on Guåhan, and the local waste management entity has very little to no resources to improve its recycling infrastructure. Guåhan is in a state of emergency and desperately needs a practical community solution to mitigate the island from literally drowning in trash.
sustaining the future
We aim to be a “zero waste” business, which simply means we try our best to produce as little to no waste as possible by making small changes to our everyday routines and habits. Our goal is to provide the people of Guåhan with the ease and accessibility of adopting a zero waste lifestyle. Zero waste is not a trend- it’s a lifestyle change being adopted across the globe as more and more people bridge the connection between plastic pollution and environment justice.
Numa’lo means to revive or return to. The birth of this business means more than retail, more than a lifestyle, and even more than providing individuals with access. Its heart lies in remembering where we come from, our connection to the earth, and our inherited responsibility to protect it for the next generations to come.