Trash bag to trea­sure

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - MIRI SCHROETER

A Fox­ton woman reuses plas­tic bags, doomed for the dump, to make ham­mocks, chess boards and san­dals. When Amba Wright found out plas­tic bags were non-re­cy­clable, she col­lected thou­sands to give them a newlease of life. It started as an art project three years ago, when she asked mem­bers of the public for their un­wanted bags and ended up with a swim­ming pool full of them. When the bags came flood­ing in, the ideas be­gan streaming in, too. Wright has gone from mak­ing hand­bags to dog leads, dog har­nesses, swimwear and a ham­mock that took 1300 bags. ‘‘I wanted to see how­far I could push it.’’ Pre­par­ing the bags took some time as the han­dles needed to be cut off and the bags were flat­tened be­fore use, then cut into loops, Wright said. She­was de­ter­mined not to let any part of the bag go to waste so the han­dles are used for in­fus­ing - a process where the plas­tic is melted down to make harder more in­tri­cate ob­jects.

Usu­ally Wright cro­chets or weaves the plas­tic to make her cre­ations, but in­fus­ing was help­ful for items such as chess pieces, she said.

Wright made a black and white chess board with match­ing pieces that took about 20 hours and 50 bags to cre­ate. ‘‘It was def­i­nitely a labour of love.’’ Wright thought about sell­ing her prod­ucts but the time it took to make them was a huge cost, she said. ‘‘You just can’t put a dol­lar value on it.’’ In­stead of sell­ing the items she planned to start a work­shop to teach peo­ple howto make their own plas­tic cre­ations.

Wright has also made hats, book cov­ers and swim­ming bags, and she­wants to make laun­dry bas­kets next.

‘‘They are­wa­ter­proof and wouldn’t go mouldy.’’

She also planned to make hang­ing seats and plas­tic bags de­signed for wheel­chairs.

Wright spoke to wheel­chair users who said it was hard to find bags that were eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble on a wheel­chair, so she wanted to make a prod­uct suited to them.

The Horowhenua Dis­trict Coun­cil has per­ma­nent recycling sta­tions at Toko­maru,

piki, Fox­ton, Shan­non and Levin, but plas­tic shop­ping bags, such as those from su­per­mar­kets, are non-re­cyl­ca­ble. There are also three sum­mer recycling sta­tions atWaita¯rere , Waikawa and Fox­ton

beaches.

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