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

Teddy Bears

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: Teddy Bears

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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