Recycle Project: Solar-powered ‘Repurpose Schoolbags’ Made from 100% Recycled Plastics

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Brief: Repurpose Schoolbags is bag made out of upcycled plastic bags with a solar technology integrated into it in other to allow learners study at night.

One of our goals is to search for garbage management projects around the world and present it to our audience. Green projects that work elsewhere can be innovated to work in other places.

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This is also an advantage for entrepreneurs to see if they can take the opportunity and innovate the projects to suit their environment.

A school bag is a must-have thing for school children. They need a bag to carry their books and maybe food.

Repurpose Schoolbags


The childhood friends, Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane came out with an innovation on school bags. The woman-owned business, Rethaka (Pty) Ltd is based in Rustenburg, South Africa. They did not only recycle plastic bags to make school bags. They also incorporated a solar panel in the bags that charge during the day when the child is going to school. During the night, the solar panel serves as a source of energy for lighting so that the children can study and do their homework.

The Repurpose Schoolbags have been designed with retro-reflective material in such away that it increases the visibility of the children as they go to school in the morning.

The Problem of Rural Electrification

The project sorts out the problem of rural electrification. The bag is not only used as something to carry books, but also a solution to the problem of non-electrification in rural areas.

Plastic Waste Reduction

The project also helps to reduce plastic garbage on streets which is a very big problem with African countries. They pick up plastics from landfills as well as run campaigns in schools for children to bring in plastics from their homes to be up-cycled.

The innovation will help to reduce plastics as well as keeping clean the environment. It has also helped kids in rural areas who would have been using plastic bags to carry their books. Their security is also taken care of with the retro-reflective material as well as getting a green source of light at night for study.

It should be noted that Rethaka (Pty) Ltd is not a charity but a for-profit purpose -driven business. They are out to use their green innovations to help redefine societal problems into solutions’. The business focuses more on women and children and have brought in many sustainable opportunities that have greatly impacted low-income communities.

What do you think about this project? Do you have any plastic recycling project you are carrying or plan to carry out? Don’t hesitate to share with us by sending an email or leaving a comment below.

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