Aug 10, 2010
Recycling just the start at new Brookfield businessBy Bob

Radha Raghavan clearly recalls her moment of epiphany. During her regular morning walk at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, she had just finished up a cup of coffee and tossed it into one of the trash receptacles. It rolled right back out.

The can was full of papers, cup, cans – stuffed with so much trash that it couldn’t hold another item.

I thought, ‘Oh my God, we generate so much trash,” Raghavan said. While she didn’t know it exactly, that moment was when her Brookfield business, Eco Totes and Gifts, was born.

“It was like a transformational thing,” she said. “I needed to convince myself in order to convince the world that this needs to be done.”

What is “this”? Principally, it revolves around recycling. And almost everything Raghavan sells or teaches at Eco Totes and Gifts, 9037 Monroe Ave., involves the concept.

Part gift shop and part workshop, Eco Totes and Gifts opened in early July (Raghavan also made an appearance at the Brookfield Art Festival on Grand Boulevard). A small front “exhibit” area, painted blue and green, includes items for sale – from soy wax candles to handmade totes made from recycled fabrics to decorative papier-mâché bowls and kitchen items made from recycled plastic.

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