A plastic bag isn't just a plastic bag, at least not in the hands of La Bolsa Loca.
Photo courtesy La Bolsa Loca
La Bolsa Loca ("The Crazy Bag") is a ecological start-up run by three Chileans- Gisella Ramírez, Paula Martínez and Gabriela Lobos- which specializes in educational workshops where participants reuse recyclable materials such as shampoo containers, plastic soda bottles and, of course, plastic bags to craft new things.
Participants use irons to melt the recycled plastics (Taller Termofundido)
As an organization which strives to make a positive impact on society, La Bolsa Loca works with schools or youth organizations where children learn to make toys, knickknack containers, or bags out of recycled plastic. Other workshops create rockets from plastic bottles, birdhouses, recycled jewelry, and more.
In the adult craft workshops, participants can learn how to create objects like wallets, bags, storage containers or even earrings. There are workshops available for all crafting levels, including a workshop on the basic techniques of reuse, an origami and twisted paper workshop, and a wallet-making workshop, among others.
Workshop leader and co-founder of La Bolsa Loca, Gaby
La Bolsa Loca provides the materials, but participants are encouraged to bring their own recyclables as well. In co-founder Gaby's apartment, where many of the workshops are held, the group collects milk containers, plastic bottles and an overflowing amount of plastic bags. La Bolsa Loca has collection drives for recyclable items, but most of the materials come straight from the garbage.
Each session starts with instruction of the craft's technical aspects and an explanation of why sustainability and recycling are so important. About 1 million plastic bags are used every minute and over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide. One bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade.
A participant's final product at a Taller Termofundido de bolsas
Making crafts from recyclable materials started as a fun hobby when founders Gaby and Pola met as art students at the Universidad de Chile. But, after graduation, they decided to turn their hobby and passion for sustainability into a business venture, La Bolsa Loca, which has been running for four years now.
If crafting isn't your style, but sustainability is, La Bolsa Loca also creates products which they sell at craft fairs or through their website. Their products - earrings, bags, wallets, baby bibs and more - have a clean finish. No one would guess that they were made from the unused plastic bag siting in the bottom of the garbage.
For more information or to sign up for a class: