Someone in Toronto is making useful objects out of old plastic bags
Plastic bags: we all have them shoved away in a cupboard somewhere. But now, one person in Toronto is making them into something useful.
Amanda-Kaye Wall has a background in freelance graphic design and previously operated under AMNDA MKES, creating things like patches and handmade paper.
Wall's job was lost due to lockdowns, leading them to pursuing creative work full-time including making things out of plastic bags starting in June 2020.
With nothing to do except clean the house, Wall realized that like most people, an abundance of plastic bags had accummulated almost subconsciously in the kitchen cupboard.
"As a kid I was raised to save them after your grocery shop and reuse them as garbage bags. So, I guess my childhood was reflected in my adulthood and in that moment I wondered how to get rid of them," Wall tells blogTO.
"These days, there is a stigma that says it looks really bad to consume a lot of plastic, so to bring normal and sometimes unavoidable plastic consumption to light was my main goal."
In addition to being raised to reuse plastic bags, though, Wall also remembers being taught they were too harmful to throw into campfires.
"I couldn't understand why no one would accept them in the recycling bins and why something so thin and small couldn't be repurposed into something else if a plastic water bottle could be," says Wall.
Wall started researching the HDPE and LDPE that plastic bags are made out of and their melting points, having studied for a while in a program to become an Environmental Technician before dropping out.
Through trial and error along with YouTube tutorials, Wall slowly starting figuring out how to give plastic bags that might otherwise end up in landfills or even places like waterways a second life.
Now, Wall makes soap dishes, trays, planters, key chains and pins from locally sourced and previously used plastic bags, selling them online and selling out regularly. Items can also be found at some stockists in Canada, and Wall also does wholesale.
Wall doesn't just repurpose plastic bags, either: items are also made from repurposed materials like mattress covers, bubble wrap and beach-combed glass.
In March 2022 Wall rebranded as K, There Co.
"I decided that I wanted to design a fresh look for my business that was less confusing and more representative of myself and what I have to offer," says Wall.
"I need a grant in order to take this thing to a large scale. So, right now I'm looking into applying for grants to get this thing going to a profitable and sustainable place where I can support myself full-time."
If you're not necessarily interested in buying any of Wall's creations but just have a ton of plastic bags you want to unload, Wall is taking donations and there are drop-off points at multiple locations in Ontario.
"Would love to be able to continue this and develop a more efficient and effective system to keep the consistent flow of plastic being donated. However, I also need more exposure in order to get the sales to accept more plastic," says Wall.
"In the end, I just want to educate people on their plastic usage, not judge or condemn them for simply being human. If I can make people look at a plastic bag even remotely different, I've done my job."
K, There Co.
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