Hout Bay project bags further success

Plastic bread bags are being re-used to make shopping bags.

A Hout Bay employment project that turns waste plastic into shopping bags has now spread to Pretoria.

Regine le Roux started Re.Bag.Re.Use to keep plastics out of landfills and women from Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu in jobs (“Plastics worth ’bagging’ about,” Sentinel News, September 10, 2021).

“The idea is to repurpose soft, clean plastic into beautiful shopping bags, instead of the plastic bags landing up as an unsightly mess next to the side of the road or landfill,” said Ms Le Roux.

The project started as a hobby during the Covid-19 lockdown, with empty bread bags being crocheted into attractive shopping bags.

“The project is snowballing and going from strength to strength,” said Ms Le Roux. “The support for Re.Bag.Re.Use has been incredible.”

The bags are now also being made and sold in Pretoria, and Hirsch’s Home Stores in Centurion and Silverlakes, in Pretoria, will be the new collection points for the clean, soft plastic that is used to make the bags.

At a time when many are struggling to survive the economic impact of the pandemic, the project offers a way to make a little extra money.

“It’s not a full-time job, and the ladies who are part of the initiative are not employed by Re.Bag.Re.Use. They get paid a stipend for cutting and/or crocheting Re.Bag.Re.Use shopping bags,” Ms Le Roux said.

One of the cutters, Jacolyn Radebe, said: “With the extra money I make from cutting the plastic, I am glad that I am able to buy groceries and essentials for our home.”

A percentage of all the sales supports charities, with the Sungardens Hospice in Pretoria, selected as one of the many beneficiaries that also includes the Domestic Animal Rescue Group (DARG).

“This is a project that I would ideally like to expand across the country,” Ms Le Roux said. “We have incredibly talented people in our communities, and there is a lot of plastic landing up in our environments.”

She encouraged everyone sitting with empty bread bags, courier bags, fruit or vegetable packets or even old video or audio cassettes, to drop them off at Fiddlesticks haberdashery, in the Red Sails building, in Main Road, Hout Bay.

The chief operations officer of Hirsch’s Home Stores, Margaret Hirsch, said: “This project touches on so many aspects that are key to us. Firstly, empowering women in our communities and, secondly, being able to provide the ladies to use their crocheting skills to turn something that is quite ugly (plastic), into something beautiful that can make quite a fashion statement.”

Ms Le Roux is also planning to do 100 10km runs this year to raise money for the project. The public can visit her BackaBuddy page to sponsor a kilometre. Money raised will be used to pay more bag makers and support the Neighbourhood Old Age Home (NOAH) and Sungardens Hospice.

For more information, visit the project on Instagram, WhatsApp 083 302 1528 or email rebagreuse@reputationmatters.co.za

This sun hat and sling bag are made from repurposed audio cassettes.