The overproduction of components for manufacturing or the packaging industry results in large quantities of waste which normally ends up in landfill, the incinerator or being collected and recycled.

Either way it compounds the already huge problem of waste disposal. This mountain of unused, unwanted, overproduced plastic can be the source of material for inspired designers and co-operatives as shown in two examples here.

The 'Rhoda' bag (1) created by textile maker Sarah Bayley uses virgin waste destined for landfill. The base is formed from a compact disc which itself is made from layers of polycarbonate, aluminium and acrylic. These individual components can only be harvested and recycled at specialist electronic recycling facilities. The body of the bag is formed by combining weaving and knotting techniques using bottle tops, shower hosing and pharmaceutical packaging waste, all of which have been previously unused and were created by overproduction in the industry. The plastics used to make these components are a combination of low density polyethylene, polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride. In 2004 Sarah won the Best Newcomer award at the Contemporary Craft Fair, Bovey Tracy, Devon in recognition of the environmentally sympathetic approach she takes with her work.


The humble crisp packet has been transformed into this elegant cocktail bag (2) by GRUPEDSAC, a charity organisation in Mexico dedicated to promoting sustainable development among small farmers and indigenous people living in extreme poverty in Mexico. Crisp packets are commonly made of polypropylene film and are not considered to be of sufficient value as a recycled commodity. These factory second or rejected packets have been prevented from entering landfill and woven together to form a substantial padded bag. Each bag uses over 200 crisp packets in its creation and in so doing plays a significant role in the lessening of landfill pollution. The hand-made nature of the bags result in one-off creations and are marketed accordingly.