Upcycled Paper Bags

As paper is one of the easiest sources of waste freely available to the unemployed and communities in need of extra income, Upcycle have created a few very effective corporate gifts and ideas to make with waste paper. The objective is to take these ideas into our communities and teach them how to make these green products enabling them to be the main source of supply to corporates when needing to go green and use up their waste paper.

The idea has great merit as each corporate gift purchased reduces the need to purchase newly manufactured products and the corporate in need of gifts can rest assured that these gifts reduce their carbon footprint. Not only are these gifts green, eco-friendly and funky, they fill a need in the market where many South Africans find themselves unemployed or in need of generating a small additional income to support their families.

Some of the products made by our community projects include Gift Bags and Recycled Notebooks as well as Jewelry and Desk Notepad Holders. We have developed a training program that can be taken to any community, which we teach, so that corporates can take on a Social Project of their own and make a greater difference to our economic struggle, as they go green, prosper and sleep better knowing they are changing the way we view our planet and the people on it.

The World wildlife fund is one of the first companies in support of Upcycle’s drive to make a difference and have ordered conference and gift bags from our project.

World Wildlife Fund Recycled Annual Report Goodie Bag Project.

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We are all becoming more aware of the impact we are making on the planet and many of us are already taking steps to mitigate the damage. One small contribution is moving toward a paperless society. The most popular upsell to computer sales is a printer, and paper mills are running at full steam to feed them. That said corporates, including the World Wildlife Fund, have an obligation to shareholders and staff to report on progress through annual reports, newsletters and other printed materials.  

Foresight and responsibility would be to ensure that these periodicals are recycled and reused. And, with that in mind, Winnie McHenry of Upcycle was tasked with converting WWF annual reports into goodie bags, which in turn could be used at forthcoming conferences and events hosted by the WWF.

For Upcycle it turned out to be a fantastic project. After planning and deliberation, two prototype bags were constructed.  The first, a simple A4 goody bag, and the second, a much larger scale A3 bag, were fashioned from the pages of WWF reports.  Upcycle’s dedicated team then set about manufacturing small and large goodie bags which were then distributed to delegates attending a recent WWF conference.

What a difference a small idea can make!


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Let us help you

Upcycle are able to take your waste paper, magazines, calanders, or any other from of paper and create a corporate gift for you that says, “We are going green and making the change!’’

Contact us for help in setting up a training program for your community or order some gifts from us to help support the few communities already established and trained in the art of Upcycle!



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paper beads traning 1 borderPhenomenal Paper Beads can create incredible jewellery while helping to reduce our impact on landfills

As in all our training segments, our focus starts with reducing the impact of waste in landfills. Paper beading is no exception. Our two objectives when doing training are always, skills development as well as educating those we teach about ways to keep our planet green.

Paper Beading

I think it’s safe to say that most people have a bookshelf in their home with old magazines that they promise to read again, but simply never get to. These same magazines collect dust and eventually get tossed in a dustbin or recycling bin and then? ... Off to a landfill. Why not take these magazines or corporate annual reports and other periodicals and educate a community in upcycling.
Teaching community members to be environmentally aware and then adding lessons on beading skills, helps those less fortunate, makes them a better living. The crafting industry is vast and limitless and it’s an exceptionally good way for the lower income, or previously disadvantaged individuals to start a business with very little outlay. How much simpler and less expensive could it be? Some old magazines, a pair of scissors, a paint brush, a pin and some varnish and you’re on your way.



When we do training, we are often met with wide open eyes, frowns and plenrty doubt. That changes when we start to talk about upcycling, the importance of aiding our environment and the way to view “junk” differently. We teach learners the dangers of relying on landfills sites; we stress the importance of each person’s responsibility in terms of the “junk” they create daily. We explain the need for upcycling and stress the impact our excess waste and pollution, has on our landfills and the planet. We explain that recycling is good, but upcycling, is even better as there are no new processes or manufacturing involved. We teach people that it’s easy to empower themselves, just by learning some basic crafting skills, tweaking some creative thinking and mastering their willpower and the possibilities are endless.

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Once everybody is excited about trash, we turn trash into art. It’s incredibly satisfying watching the penny drop when you show learners how to make paper beads. Once they understand the processes involved, they themselves, start to see the possibilities ahead. The camaraderie and team building effects of our training are so clearly visible; the community members always leave our workshops proudly wearing their new handmade creations and eager to show off their newly learned skills. It rarely takes long before our up-skilled learners and making money and selling their creations.

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Paper Beading is incredibly simple.  It’s fun, it’s creative, it’s exciting and it’s expressive.  There are several ways of making your paper beads and once your beads are made, the jewellery you wish to make is endless.  Upcycle has done training in numerous communities and has taught several people the art of paper bead making and they are very happy for a skill that is generating them an income.

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Why not take a look at our easy to follow step by step on paper beading.
Or ... if you are involved in any Corporate Social Investment initiatives, perhaps we can set up a training workshop for your community or even your staff as a team building exercise.paper training background

Give us a call and let’s chat about options.

Contact Winnie


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