Mahali Meets Mira

The Ugly Truth About Recycling is that our recycling industry simply cannot keep up with the volume and types of plastic we consume. The tragic result is that 91% of all plastics end up in landfills, incinerators or the ocean.

Sadly, the World Economic Forum estimates that, by 2050, the amount of plastics in the ocean will outnumber fish by weight. But Just as the plastic crisis crept up on the world over a period of years, reducing the problem will come through gradual change.

Inspired by different variables, a social enterprise called The Plastic Project was found a few years ago in the Franschhoek Valley close to Cape Town in South Africa. They found a way to address two pressing matters in one project- social and ecological hand in hand. Unemployment in South Africa has been at a critical high for some time now, at almost 30%. And the accumulation of plastic objects in the form of plastic pollution in rivers and the ocean has also been in the spotlight over the last couple of years.

We all know the chemical structure of plastic makes it rather difficult to degrade. Therefore, as Mira, The Plastic Project spokesperson says, “we collect used plastic bags, which are then carefully sanitised. These are then cut into long strips called ‘plarn’ and then crocheted into bags, baskets and other items.”

Every weekend they sell their goods at the markets in Franschhoek area. as well as at the Hout Bay Market. Selling these treasures provides the women with some much-needed income. Excess proceeds go towards a feeding programme for disadvantaged children in the valley.

One of the main objectives of the Mahali house is to be a safe place for the unemployed to be upskilled and connected to industry. We also feel very strongly about using local materials in our design and to support local initiatives like The Plastic Project, not even to mention our support to the use of less plastic. For us to support Mira and the women in our design, we need 500 crocheted panels. Each panel costs R120, thus the net cost is ZAR60 000. With your help we could reach this amount in no time. If you want to contribute to this cause, please buy a crocheted reward on our crowdfunding page.

Please also visit The Plastic Project’s website at