How G-lish Ghana recycled textile art and Bolga baskets began: Plastic

 This weekend, we're telling the story of how G-lish Ghana recycled textile art and Bolga baskets came to be. #recycledlove is the tag to follow this story on instagram.

We're starting with plastic, because that's where it began. 

The puffy plastic bag on the pile of twisted plastic twine, made from the same bags, is a drinking water sachet filled with water (mine at the time I took this photo). This water cost 2.5 cents per bag (500 ml) at the time. Each twisted twine of two strands in the bunches is made from one whole plastic bag. Each bunch in the image = 100 twines = 100 plastic drinking water bags. We pay producers by the 200 twines (or 2 bunches) they make, and record this, which is how we can quote the number of plastic bags we've used in production since 2010, officially, which is now 330,000 +.

Our tiny granny flat in Bolga was filling fast with thousands of these plastic bags from the water we drank in 2009 when we first moved to Bolga. Little did we know we were surrounded by #value in the form of #rubbish. I refused to burn them, as most people do, or throw them on the ground, as is also common practice. So, our office turned into a plastic bag storage facility. I tried plaiting them after cutting them. No good. Then one day, Godwin was bored with malaria (it drives you to odd behaviour) and he began cutting the bags in a new way. Then he rubbed the strip against his leg, as you do with straw, and it turned into twine, the same way straw twines are made for baskets. That was our "aha" moment.

We called his cousin, Edna, to come and try making a basket. I spent a week cutting, Godwin spent a week twisting, and Edna spent a week weaving on our bedroom floor beside our mattress, then on the floor. That's how it began. With plastic. It turned out we could make beautiful baskets using plastic--it had never been done before in Ghana. It was innovative and transformative. It laid the foundation for our ethos which was environmentally sustainable income generating projects to reduce poverty in rural communities in Ghana. 

Watch out for the story on #recycled #fabric, coming next :)

Gayle Pescud
Gayle Pescud