Snuffle Mats

Upcycle Snuffle Mats now available!

dog finding treatUpcycle snuffle mats are now available at the Upcycle landfill avoidance shop situated at 158 Long Road, Greymont in Jhb.

In case you don’t know, a “snuffle mat” is a material feeding mat for dogs. (Apparently cats love them too!). Basically, a snuffle mat stimulates a dogs natural foraging instinct by mimicking the hunt for food in grass & fields, stimulating their noses & brains to earn their meals. You hide treats around the mat, and then your dog uses his nose to find them, getting a tasty treat as a reward. A dog’s sense of smell is 50 times stronger than humans. Your dog sees the world through his or her nose!

The added value of these particular snuffle mats is that they are made by ladies that are trained in community sewing projects through Upcycle’s innovation lab.

One of Upcycle’s primary business intervention initiatives is training communities to make useable goods from waste product. The ‘waste’ product used for the creation of the snuffle mats is in line with the Upcycle landfill avoidance concept shop’s mission of creating new products from material that cannot be fully de-branded & so land up in landfill.

Upcycle has been contracted by a corporate product company to upcycle by sanitising their ‘waste product’ that would usually make landfill.

This production line of the Upcycle snuffle mats is a direct response of innovation to the sanitisation process of de-branding for certain corporate T shirts that cannot have branding removed or rebranded. These T shirts would usually end up in landfill due to branding rights & restrictions.

The Upcycle snuffle mats are made from cotton T shirts that cannot be de-branded or rebranded for use as a wearable T shirt. The branded T shirts are cut up into strips to strip away the branding. A square material base is placed to feed strips of material through small slits cut in a line across the base. With a crochet needle, the material strip is hooked in the middle & pulled through the small holes in the base square. The material strip is then looped around itself to knot around the slit in the base material. This process is continued until each slit in a line has a knotted strip through it & then the process is continued until each parallel line is filled. Colour combinations are decided on in the design process beforehand. When the threading of the material strips into the square base is complete, another square material base is sewn onto the side of the base where the slits are fed with knots of material to protect this side from being unravelled in the search for treats.

suffle rugs on grassThe Upcycle snuffle mats are designed as a “wooly” appearance; chosen specifically as research has shown this style to be popular with dogs. The colours combined are visually stimulating for humans. The snuffle mats are small & portable but can be made as a larger snuffle mat should you require this. We can create a variety of snuffle mats according to your specifications.

For the most part, snuffle mats are used as an interactive toy, one that encourages their natural behaviour, providing both stimulation and entertainment. We suggest that the treats you place in the snuffle mat is dry kindle as ‘wet’ treats will create quite a mess on the mats. The mats are durable for a hand wash or soft cycle wash.

We do encourage multipurpose use – the snuffle mats are perfect for use as a drying mat when you get out of the shower or bath.

When you buy an Upcycle snuffle mat, you are not only being a super dog parent, but you are consciously investing into a local business that makes sure that goods that usually make landfill, avoid landfill. You are also restoring dignity to individuals & communities by investing your money into training & skills development.

A snuffle mat taps into your dog’s primal instinct by rewarding their curious nose with a tasty treat. Food games, like a snuffle mat, play a vital role in keeping your dog mentally healthy. Sniffing is part of the reason why dog’s love walks so much. A walk exposes your dog to an entirely new world of different smells & scents that excites them. Not much to be sniffed out around home. Boredom can lead to problem behaviours with our dogs such as chewing, digging & ultimately destroying household items.

Your dog’s nose was made to hunt, track, burrow, sniff & snort! This is their natural instinct. Snuffle mats can also be used as a distraction during gatherings of people, meeting new people like your new dog sitter & in any situation or environment that may cause your loved pet anxiety & stress. When instinct kicks in, like sniffing for a treat, a dog easily forgets the fear experienced a moment before.

Snuffle mats are also used to train working dogs. Dog trainers use snuffle mats in training search-&-rescue, sniffer & hunting dogs by training dogs to locate scents. The snuffle mats used in training are called ‘nosework’ mats.

An Upcycle snuffle mat would be a great birthday gift for a friend who has a furry best friend too!


HJ blue1Hayley Joy Teddy's


To upskill and provide, sustainable job opportunities, through the utilisation of scrap material.


Hayley Joy's quest to reduce their carbon footprint, by donating their fabric scraps, has been enabled by a wonderful collaboration with Upcycle Winnie. Hayley Joy production generates a vast amount of waste, and what a waste it would have been, for it to be dumped, or even worse, end up in a landfill.

Upcycle, Winnie, has been able to upskill two families, by teaching them basic sewing skills, and she has now trained them to make the Teddies from scratch.

HJ blue

 Please view our project here.

Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L03twtCG5cQ


The story so far:

After much research and development, Upcycle was able to come up with a number of ways in which the scrap fabric supplied by Hayley Joy, could be upcycled into new products. Through the process, one concept in particular has been directly adopted and turned into a full CSI project, namely the Teddy Bear Project. 


Upcycle has been teaching ladies Upcycling skills, needlework and how to use a sewing machine as part of its skills development project. The teddy bear project was introduced to the project as part of the skills transfer process. It was at this time, that Lydia fell in love with these cute teddies. Even though this was different from her original path, which was to learn to sew clothing to increase her income, and to work from home, Lydia has adopted the teddy project as her own and is loving being able to now help others in return. Lydia makes these teddies and now teaches ladies in Orange Farm to do the same.

The teddy bears are completely made by hand, with wall the sewing and finishes being done by hand, thereby making the project ideal to be set up, and taken further into any rural area. Upcycle has taken this to the level that even the stuffing used in each teddy is from the self-same scrap.

Upcycle has taught Lydia how to make these teddies from start to finish, how to do the different stiches, how to assemble the little bears and finally their signature faces. Through Upcycle's support and tutelage, she is now able to produce these bears which are on sale at the Hayley Joy shop in Dunkeld West Shopping Centre, JHB or through Upcycle.

What is happening now?

Due to the rising demand we have had to produce more of these cute little fabric bears, we have helped Lydia to bring more people into the project and we have reduced Hayley's waste to zero as we take all her scrap fabric. Lydia now has 4 additional people in her home town of Orange Farm making teddy's and helping her keep up with the orders. Two of these ladies are elderly and unemployed and through this project have now found a purpose to their days while making an income by producing amazing little teddies. Lydia has gone from making the bears by herself to being a team leader and managing the process.

HJ red

Get involved?

By ordering teddies at R150.00 each from Hayley Joy and Upcycle, this will directly support the project and all the people involved.

Upcycle is always looking to new ways to make a difference, if you or your company have a waste product you would like us reduce by helping you set up a CSI project give us call! 

Contact Winnie

kanye training 

sewing grannies













Hayley Joy Weinberg shared your post.
2 mins · 

When they talk about the Angels that walk amongst us, Upcycle Winnie Mchenry is most definitely one of them. Dedicating your life to helping people change their lives by upskilling them, and contributing to saving our planet, makes her a very special Angel.
Please watch the video and please like and share it. We need to get Winnie and her dedication out to the world.

I’m incredibly honoured to be a small part of this phenomenal initiative. Upskilling women so that they can feed, clothe and school their families, and at the same time keeping waste out of landfills, means that my carbon footprint is a little lighter.

Winnie does valuable corporate team building sessions (I’ve seen photos of the CEO of a bank, holding my fabric, whilst making a teddy for charity). Please support this initiative, it’s changing lives on a scale that is unprecedented.
❤️ Hayley

Read more: hayley-joy

Restraw collaboration


RESTRAW officially started after an epic backpacking honeymoon adventure in 2016, where my husband and I travelled to, and dived in, all sorts of areas around the globe. A very sad reality that hit us time and time again was that we saw just how much plastic was affecting our planet. Our oceans and islands, and just about every area we went to (even the most remote places), had some level of plastic infiltrating and taking over. We realised how out of control the whole situation has gotten. It’s one thing to know about it but seeing it with your own eyes is a another story altogether and really changes something in you.

We came across reusable straws for the first time in Bali and it was so incredibly awesome. They resonated with us from the second we saw them. Not only are they brilliant for the environment but they are pretty amazing to sip through as well. After a long chat with one of our environmentalist friends about the gigantic plastic issues the world is facing, we knew that we needed to bring the straws to South Africa. Once back in South Africa in 2017, we started our mission to bring RESTRAW to life.

RESTRAW is a change in mind-set, it’s a mind shift. Our motto is rethink, reuse, reset. It’s about rethinking the way we do things, reusing and recycling everything that we can, and resetting for a better, plastic-free future.

We hope that our RESTRAWS resonate with you and that you get as much joy from them as we do.

RESTRAW Products

Our products have been carefully conceptualised and crafted to be as environmentally friendly as possible, from start to finish. We use sustainable material as far as we can and produce as much with our South African brothers and sisters as possible.

restraw sleeveOur glass straws are manufactured and branded locally, each one being hand crafted with the utmost care. We have partnered with an incredible company called Upcycle (www.upcycle.co.za) to make our beautiful hemp sleeves. They teach and empower people in various communities to make a living from the resources they have at hand. We use 100% hemp fabric for the sleeves as it is incredibly sustainable, cruelty free, antibacterial and antifungal. Our packaging is made from recycled and biodegradable material. We have requested that our suppliers stay away from using plastic for any of our products and rather use paper if necessary.


Visit (www.restraw.co.za) for more info on getting your own straws






Upcycle getting involved


Thanks to our amazing network of people that donate us all sorts of materials and cool things to experiment with, we have been able to train incredible people that have previously not had work, how to make things to sell at markets to create an income for themselves.

mayWhen RESTRAW came along we didn’t really have a well-established income for the people that where making things to sell at markets so this was a great opportunity for a stable income because for every RESTRAW pouch they sew they get paid for. Teaming up with RESTRAW is a perfect combination, RESTRAW needing the RESTRAW pouches and being able to pay people for the product they were making and Upcycle having a skilled bunch of hard working people that are willing to learn anything new.

Beacause our team are not afraid to learn and understand that you cannot get it right the first time, when people are motivated enough they find a way of doing what they want to do and make it happen. They have spent many hours learning ad growing thier confidence levels and are really keen to take on new challenges.

ur team has been creating new products from all the materials we have been donated and learning how to use the sewing machines without holding back or being afraid to learn. It is an exceptionally refreshing environment when you don’t have to nag anyone to do their job or when people don’t drag their feet every time they have to learn a new skill and this is why Upcycle thrives, we always make the most out of our days, we look for people who are willing to put in the effort and then put all our effort into them.


RESTRAW pouches sold separately or with straws

www. restraw.co.za


bean bags

Bean bags

Upcycle have started a range of really cool bean bags for kids to play with. As we have been donated such fun fabrics we have taken this project to our Sharpville community and taught our talented crafters how to make them.They are such a great project as they are also a really cool toy for the kids within the community as they also get to learn about how waste can be fun, cool toys and projects to make.

For every 10 bags we make we donate one bag to a mom in the community for their little ones to play with and have something to learn hand eye co-ordination with while playing with their friends! 

beanbagbackgroundWe are selling these recycle waste fabric bean bags for R10 each. We can offer a discount for orders of 100 or more.

Our bean bags come in a variety of colours and are filled with recycled scrap fabric so they soft and can be washed. 

Bean bags are such a fun toy to have lying around for those wet rainy days and also having bean bags for little babies helps build muscle and hand strength.

The size of these bags are 12cm by 12cm.

The bags will all vary in colours as they are made from waste fabric offcuts.

If you would like tp place and order please contact me on 082 780 3673


Or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There are a few concerns around the safety of these waste fabric bean bags as they are made from waste, but its is important to note that not all recycled waste fabrics come from a landfill or are used fabrics. 

In the case of these waste fabric bean bags all the fabrics are essentially brand new. what makes them recycled is the fact that they are the small offcuts donated to us by the clothing manufacturing industry. 

We have clients that are really conscious about their impact on the planet and are not willing to landfill this recyclable fabric. They would rather have it donated to a project that can benefit a community project and help them not have a negative impact on the environment.

As these are helpful to the planet and the kids in our community projects we would love to be able to take more fabrics and make a bigger difference.

If you would like to donate your fabrics or get involved in a great CSI project, please give me a call. Winnie 082 780 3673



The giving back bag

The giving back bag

The Giving Back Bag is made from waste materials, produced by community and supplied to stores with their chosen personal brand stamped onto the material. The print is handmade using lino block prints.

Upcycle Creative receives donated waste fabrics from many CMT companies within South Africa. We design and prototype marketable products from this waste, while teaching members of local communities how to manufacture our products.

 The Giving Back Bag is a durable material shopping bag branded specifically for each individual retailer and purchased from them by their environment-conscious shoppers.

The bag is trendy and cost-effective, enabling consumers to assist in reducing the need for plastic packaging by taken it along on shopping excursions.

The retail outlets that stock the bags will not incur any costs for these brand-personalised Giving Back Bags. An added bonus of selling these bags would be the reputation gained as an environmentally friendly store which, in this day and age, can only help to grow their brand.

There is a huge market potential in this product as it is an environment-conscious product that uplifts community and provides marketing and advertising to retailers, while also providing a solution to consumers who are conscious about their impact on the environment. Customers tend to be extremely loyal to sustainable brands and are generally very happy to purchase products that place them in a “green” category whilst also promoting the stores they shop at.

Whilst being conscious of their purchases and promoting the “green” brand of their choosing, consumers will also be comfortable with the assurance that the Giving Back Bag is produced in South Africa and is giving back to local communities by generating incomes for low income households by creating employment opportunities where previously there were none

Upcycle Creative is already training two communities in how to make the Giving Back Bags and is providing production materials to them.

By developing opportunities using waste, the objective of Upcycle Creative is to reduce the impact that this waste has on the environment by assisting the manufacturing industry to divert it from landfills into sustainable, environment and community-friendly projects.

Upcycle Creative intends to eliminate the use of plastic and brown paper bags in all stores that have a customer base loyal to their brand in South Africa.

By assisting industry to reduce its waste streams, the impact of this project will help to instil a greener mindset in our consumers and provide them with more worthwhile options for their money.

The Giving Back Bag project is intended to roll out in all stores on South Africa that have clients loyal to their brand.

It is our intention to assist the manufacturing industry in diverting its waste from landfills by developing alternative opportunities incorporating the waste.

In creating a trendy and functional bag that everyone wants to be seen using, Upcycle Creative intends to assist in reducing the impact of plastic on the environment, whilst also helping to create a culture where taking a branded bag out when shopping becomes a norm as opposed to an exception.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to stock the giving back bag. 

the giving back bag

facebook comment 2 October 2015

If you don't believe in Angels, then you haven't met Winnie McHenry. Winnie and I crossed paths when I was looking to donate my bags of fabric offcuts, to an organisation, to avoid them ending up in a landfill. It's not easy controlling my carbon footprint in my industry, and the amount of bags we generate is particularly worrying. 

Winnie is the owner of an amazing initiative called Upcycle Winnie. She will take your trash, teach skills to people, and they will turn your trash into something amazing, like these gorgeous Teddy Bears, made out of Hayley Joy offcuts.
I am so flattered to be a part of this upliftment chain. Working with Winnie, has taught HJ so much about the 'bigger picture'.
I have taken delivery of my first range of Teddies. They are for sale at R150, and all proceeds will go back to Winnie and the community who are so lovingly producing the Bears.
Empowering families via our fabric offcuts, is something I'm extremely proud of. It's an important part of my entrepreneurial dream.
Winnie - winnie@upcycle.co.za

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