Woman turns inflatables into handbags, saving 100 tonnes of plastic from landfill

Eco 09/09/2019

Pool inflatable and bouncy castles are all fun and well at the time, but what happens to them once the fun has been had?

They end up at the rubbish dump of course.

But one UK based woman named Georgia decided that that wasn't good enough and thought up a way that the inflatable plastics could be recycled and repurposed.

She dreamed up the creative idea of turning the plastic items into accessories.

Her work was so inspiring that charity National Trust and Thomas Cook are now collaborating with Georgia to set up ‘Inflatables Amnesty’ collection points in the UK and around the world. 

When she first began, Georgia used discarded deck chair covers from the beach but soon holidaymakers sent her other bits.

People asked Georgia to make memorabilia out of pool inflatables or water-wings, all of which she created out of her dining room.

"There are certain bespoke orders that stick in my head." Georgia told Metro UK.

"The hen party that sent in their blow-up man. He was really weird looking."

"They wanted him made into a bag to give to the bride on her wedding day. His head was made into a rucksack."

"We see what we get and where it’s damaged, and that dictates the final bag’s shape and style. Flamingos are the most popular."

Now the business employs six people and operates from a small shop, but will soon be moving to its first warehouse.

Each recycled bag starts at £5 (approx NZD$10) for a small pocket bag, but complicated bags, which take days to make, can reach up to £145 (approx NZD$280).

Some of the final products include tote bags, rucksacks, and washbags. Bouncy castle materials are ideal to use as they can’t be recycled because of their mixed fibres, and inflatables have to be turned into pellets before they can be recycled.

So Georgia pairs the two together, using the strong bouncy castle fabric as the base of the bag, decorated with less durable fabric from inflatables.

"For me, it just seemed like the obvious thing to do," she said.

"Don’t throw something away if you can re-use it. I want people to feel like they can get involved, and that they can afford it."

"I’ve always wanted people to go “that’s a really nice bag” and then look at the tag, and think “oh cool it used to be something else”"