Inflatable toys deflated not discarded

Students turned plastic waste into funky, reusable bags.

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Inflatable pool toys that are popped or no longer wanted will be kept out of landfill thanks to the creative efforts of a Year 11 class at Whangaparaoa College.

Teacher Denise Davies was inspired to suggest the project after viewing the work of Auckland arts facilitator Nina Darrah, of I Used to Be, who turns inflatable pool toys into reusable, splash proof bags.
The inflatables are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – a type of plastic that can’t be recycled and ends up in landfill where it remains for hundreds of years and leaches toxic chemicals.

A call out to the school and wider community brought in dozens of pool toys.

Testing and trialling then got underway as the class got to grips with sewing plastic and testing prototype bags for durability and visual appeal.

Recently, the first batch of bags was completed.

Denise says it has been a valuable learning experience and also fun.

“I would like to thank the community for giving us the opportunity to give new life to these plastic items,” Denise says. “I am super proud of my fabric class for coming up with so many unique and creative ideas.”

She says the students want to keep their bags, but there has been interest in purchasing them, and the project will run again next year.

Unwanted pool toys can be left at the Whangaparaoa College office (attention Denise Davies) to be transformed into useful items.

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