SPAR Western Cape plastic bags
Photo Credit: On File

Community project, LoveMats, hopes that people can assist them in collecting plastic bags which are then turned into unique designs by older ladies.


Johannesburg, South Africa (28 August 2020) – Melian Dott founded LoveMats after doing some research about the process of recycling plastic packets. She wanted to find an alternative and discovered plastic being used as a material for weaving and crochet. She then found two women who loved the hobby, and she decided to launch the community project.

“LoveMats started by chance. I had collected quite a large number of plastic shopping bags. I knew the recycling process involves using a lot of chemicals, which ends up in water sources. I asked Dorkas if she knew how to weave with plastic. She was reluctant at first, as she’d last weaved many years before.

While collecting bags, I met Cynthia who showed me her beautiful designs, and I bought two mats. She told me how weaving is her hobby and she had many more to show me.

Dorkas then brought me her amazing design and said the weaving had helped with her arthritis and was intending to carry on with the hobby.
And so LoveMats SA was created…”

The ladies are now working their way through more plastic bags than they can find. Melaine reached out to Good Things Guy for help to reach more people. They are asking if people can please donate their unused collections of plastic bags (we all have a bag containing hundreds more somewhere lol).

LoveMats creates employment for older women, giving them a secure income through retirement and now COVID-19. Since the start of LoveMats, over 50,000 bags have been kept out of landfills and the ocean.

“Upcycling is better because recycling uses up water, requires chemicals and energy. But most importantly the biggest impact has been giving gogos a side hustle, especially during COVID times. The mats can be weaved from home and we are currently looking for more bags!”

Melian is hoping to make the move into the Cape Town market and is also looking for more ladies able to weave with plastic bags. Through the community project, she is able to connect buyers to the ladies and their woven works. If you have bags to donate or want to reach out about someone you know who can join the project, you can reach out via Facebook here.

Take a look at some of the plastic creations below.

Plastic Bags Plastic bags

Sources: LoveMats
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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