HANDMADE plastic bag by Re.Bag.Re.Use. Picture: Instagram/ @re.bag.re.use.
HANDMADE plastic bag by Re.Bag.Re.Use. Picture: Instagram/ @re.bag.re.use.

How these Western Cape women used lockdown to turn bread bags into plastic shopping bags

By Thobile Mazibuko Time of article published Sep 2, 2021

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When President Cyril Ramaphosa introduced the first lockdown in March last year, many were frustrated. However, some used it as an opportunity to learn new skills.

Regine le Roux, of Hout Bay, Western Cape, started a community project called Re.Bag.Re.Use. To make use of plastic, she went bag to her old hobby of crotchet and started making shopping bags out of recycled plastic.

“During this time, I realised just how much plastic was being generated and thrown away every day, so I decided to find a way to re-purpose it. Crocheting with plastic worked,” she says.

As time went by, she invited other women to be part of the project, to curb unwanted plastic and create employment opportunities.

There are now six ladies from the Harbour and Imizamo Yetho, in Hout Bay, who are transforming empty bread bags into magnificent shopping bags.

Le Roux says the bags have been well-received and are even purchased internationally.

“It takes about 30 empty bread bags and eight hours to complete one bag. Two ladies cut the plastic bags into strips for us to crochet with. When a Re.Bag.Re.Use bag is purchased, not only is it keeping plastic from going to the landfill, but it is also investing into the empowerment of the local community and charities.

“The sales from the bags are used to pay a stipend to the crocheters, the cutters, and a percentage also goes to a local charity. Recently, a lady bought nine bags that were taken to the United States as gifts! We’re absolutely thrilled that these bags are now ‘international,” explains le Roux.

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