Recycling workshop turns plastic bags into art

Published on 07 August 2018

Greenheart Hub workshop.

Foxton’s community hub, Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, played host to a workshop encouraging creative ways to re-use plastic bags on Friday 3 August.

The workshop, hosted by Greenheart Hub founder and Foxton resident Amba Wright, was part of an exhibition which displays a range of products made entirely out of upcycled plastic bags, including hats, pet leashes, laptop cases, reusable shopping bags, a hammock and even a chess set.

Miss Wright, the creator of the products, said she became interested in exploring innovative ways to re-use plastic bags five years ago when she undertook an art diploma.

“I found out plastic bags couldn’t be recycled and became interested in what could be done with them. Then I saw a video on the internet that showed how to turn plastic bags into yarn, and I decided to try and push the concept,” she said.

“Now I create all sorts of things out of plastic bag yarn, using crochet. I use the whole bag so nothing goes to waste. Tricky bits, like the handles and the seams at the bottom, are melted into sheets and fashioned into buttons and clasps.”

Keen to spread the technique, Miss Wright began a series of workshops to teach a team of keen volunteers how to do it. The workshop at Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom was the team’s third meeting.

“Once the team are confident we’ll look at getting more volunteers to help prepare the yarn and set up a drop-off point for the public to donate plastic bags. Then we’ll be able to start selling our products. We’ll focus on making and selling reusable shopping bags first, then the team will get creative!” Ms Wright said.

Miss Wright and her team also plan to work closely with Refreshed, a Levin-based community of designers and creators who turn waste into products such as jewellery.

Their ambitions will be helped along by plans to set up an art recycling and sustainability centre at the Foxton Racecourse Tote Building.

“People will be able to donate unwanted items that can be used for creative purposes. We’ll also offer low-cost art and craft resources at the centre, as well as workshops on creativity, zero waste and sustainable living,” said Miss Wright.

A fundraising garage sale and charity auction held in June this year for the art recycling centre raised $3,300, which will go towards repairing the roof and cleaning up the building.

Miss Wright encouraged people who want to get involved in the plastic bag recycling project or the art recycling and sustainability centre to contact Greenheart Hub on 027 600 8638 or [email protected].

Horowhenua District Council is hosting a number of events to support the community to recycle and minimise waste. Last week saw 70 people attend the free workshop Reducing our Household Rubbish: The Zero Waste Approach. A further event, Waste Free Living Workshop with Kate Meads, will be held on Friday 24 August and has already sold out. Council has organised a third event, Waste Free Parenting Workshop with Kate Meads, for Wednesday 25 October. 


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