Recycling? – it’s in the bag!


Christine Conlin gets busy with a nifty-fingered ‘bag lady’

Ann Illidge from Mount Road Stone is a shopper with a difference.  The plastic bags she uses are not just recycled – they’re ones she’s knitted herself! It’s not an original idea – Ann first got the idea for making them through the Daily Mail’s ‘Banish the Bags’ campaign – but it’s one she’s taken to new lengths.

Each plastic carrier is cut into one continuous strip – and it takes 35 carriers to make one of Ann’s bags.  And knitting them, while not difficult, is time-consuming, about 16 hours, Ann reckons.

But as a retired Home Economics teacher with a pair of capable hands, Ann has no problem knitting while watching TV.

“I have to keep busy, or I’d fall asleep,”

she jokes.

She uses non bio-degradable carriers, as these last longer.  The ones she mostly uses come from Morrison’s, where her home-made bags have been causing quite a stir at the check-outs recently.  Light and expandable, they carry a fair weight of shopping, too.

Word has been getting round, and Ann is now receiving invitations to demonstrate her bag-knitting techniques to local WI groups and schools. Having produced about a dozen, Ann’s not planning to sell them, but maybe give them away them as charity raffle prizes.

  “If you don’t have so much time, you can always knit smaller items, like mobile phone cases and belts”

says Ann, showing off a bright green belt made from M & S food carriers.  She’s also produced a ‘designer’ bag decorated with a flower and butterfly in contrasting colours.

Meanwhile, Ann’s local, the Pheasant Inn, have started collecting Morrison’s carriers for her.  They’re also contacting Morrison’s HQ about her – somebody at high level ought to be told!