Wheelchairs and whale tails

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Georgetown Scout Group cubs (from left) Ellex Cammell, Jaxon Lynch (both 9) and Abbie Sansom (11) sort bread bag tags into colours, shapes and sizes before they are sent to Auckland to be made into jewelery.

BREAD bag tags are being made into whale tail earrings, with half the proceeds going to the charity Bread Tags for Wheelchairs.

Bread Tags for Wheelchairs Invercargill-based organiser Kathryn Sansom said the project had been run in South Africa for the past 14 years, with the proceeds from the recycled tags used to provide wheelchairs for the needy.

Previously recycled into seedling trays in South Africa, the bread tags were now sent to Auckland to be made into earrings.

Mrs Sansom said she was “elated to announce the partnership with ODF” to raise money for the charity with 50% of the sale price of every pair sold being sent to the charity.

“It’s a win-win for Bread Tags for Wheelchairs, for talented Kiwi entrepreneur Michael Fox, and to educate the public on plastic waste.”

Mr Fox started the Auckland-based recycling plastic design and manufacturer, ODF, in 2016, spending a year experimenting with plastic waste to make items and create sculptures.

He had designed and built his own machinery, as well as designed and produced products out of recycled plastic, Mrs Sansom said.

Although he made a variety of items and art works, “his first product made out of bread tags were some statement, whale tail earrings”, Mrs Sansom said.

Continuing the environmentally-friendly theme, the earrings were packaged in a bamboo box, which doubled as a display case.

A leader in the Georgetown Scout Group, Mrs Sansom said the keas (aged from 5 to 7 years old) and cubs (from 8 to 11 years old) had been collecting the bread tags for about 18 months, and had already collected enough to buy four wheelchairs.

Since the end of last year, the keas and cubs had collected another 26kg of tags which they sorted last week at the Scout den into colours of blue, green, pink, red and white, as well as shape and size, before the tags were sent to Auckland.

“It had taken about six months to fill the large recycling wheelie bin, which was quite a feat, taking the Covid situation into account,” she said.

Part of the project for the keas and cubs was “giving back to the community”, with some of the older scouts helping out on the night to increase their “service hours” towards their various badges.

Two drop-off points for the bread tags were already established in Invercargill Alive and The Pantry in Grace St, South Invercargill, and Southern Adventure in Tay St.

However, more drop-off points were needed throughout the city.

Mrs Sansom was keen to hear from any businesses, especially any in Windsor, Waikiwi and Glengarry, which would like to set up a drop-off point. She can be emailed at invercargillbreadtags@gmail.com

The earrings were sold online, but Mr Fox was “very keen to get them into New Zealand retail stores too”.

  • To see the whale tail earrings, go to recycledplasticdesign.com/products/whale-tail-earrings
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