Last week we were lucky enough to visit Sealand at their factory… we have been on the hunt for a more sustainable way to collect garbage on our beach cleanup adventures. Sealand make strong, durable and funky bags from waste fabric, the ultimate upcycling solution. They make their bags out of old sails and tents, banners and flags, they have created a reliable brand of high fashion bags… that are madly popular wherever you go.

The Back Story


We have been doing beach cleanups for a number of years now. Long before it was cool, we began doing cleanups on our hike days in Cape Point, where pristine natural environment that it is, we found ourselves collecting bag after bag of garbage that is washed onto our shores from the ocean.
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For the last couple of years we have been joining the Beach Co-Op at Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg to collect garbage once a month, this is not a pristine nature reserve, but rather one of Cape Town’s most popular beaches.
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The Garbage is very different on a popular beach, where we are collecting a lot of litter: plastic bags, crisp packets, individual sweet wrappers and of course straws. The point is that there is a certain irony to doing beach cleanups and gathering up our garbage in plastic bags. Recently, with the Beach Co-Op, we have been using Sealand Bags and they are perfect for the job.
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Beach Cleanup Bags


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I decided to reward our kids for a job well done, when they were named Ocean Heroes of the month at the Shark Center, and see if I could get them their own Beach Clean Bags… and while we bought one bag, the Sealand team specially made another one for us… just a little inspiration and encouragement for the next time we head out, whatever the weather to clean a little more of our coastline. We love our beach clean up bags… firstly they are upcycled; secondly they are reusable; thirdly they have a clever design… the one strap means that they can easily hang on your shoulder and drop the garbage in; fourthly they are large and strong, they can fit in loads of garbage and they don’t rip and tear as you go… perfect for the job and I know my guys will wear theirs with pride.

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The Sealand Factory Tour


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Old sails, tents, banners and suchlike are gathered, and even fabric made from recycled bottles is used.
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Patterns are created…
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Cut…
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And sorted…
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And then up stairs to the sewing room…
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A lot of magic goes on here…
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Bags created right before your eyes….
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And the next thing you know, there is a factory full of products ready to launch…
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With a little visit from quality control…
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And nods of approval… you have to look inside, because these bags aren’t just pretty on the outside… they are lined with prettiness on the inside too.
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Everyone has their favourite. Each bag is unique… they are exactly one of a kind. I can’t decide between a Mwezi, the secret pocket gets me, or the Sealy. Though I really would settle for a Keezy. You do have to choose wisely, they are pricey… but you are paying for a handmade, upcycled, locally produced product, from a company that has sustainable practices and happy workers. These bags have become high-fashion statements and will be seen on catwalks around the world for seasons to come.

Three Green Living Questions

  1. What one thing do you do in your home that you feel makes a difference to the environment?
  2. To be more conscious. A conscious attitude encourages us to question the necessity of every action we take. When applied to an environmental mind it helps to mitigate any unnecessary waste as well as reduce consumption. For example, we are always conscious of the packaging we use and thus question the necessity of using a material such as plastic as opposed to seeking out a more sustainable option. Rather than immediately throwing packaging away, we will keep it to reuse in a different context. Consciousness also applies to reducing consumption. It makes us question the need to buy certain things as well as the unnecessary use of resources such as electricity and water. Once you start approaching everything you do with a conscious mind, you reduce your impact on the earth significantly.

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  3. If you could tell your community one thing to change what would it be?
  4. It would be to buy only sustainable products. We are quick to criticise big corporations for their unsustainable practices without realising that corporations are controlled by the consumers they serve. If the consumer’s stop buying products that have excessive packaging or are the result of unsustainable farming practices the corporations will shift away from these products because they will no longer be profitable.

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  5. If you had an opportunity to speak to world leaders what policy would you ask them to implement?
  6. The world has woken up to the environmental problems we face. In the past few months alone, the UN and EU have signed incredibly positive anti-plastic policies. The problem often lies in the implementation of these policies. A policy we would ask them to implement, then, would be one that requires countries and corporates to meet the same environmental standards already set but with far stronger incentives to comply as well as severe penalties for non-compliance.


Click on the video above to see their personal story, that begins on one of our favourite beaches… and on the image below to see the photographs from our tour.
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Huge thank you to The Sealand Team, for gifting us with your time and for specially making us beach clean up bags… we really appreciate your support and wish you all the best. Just this weekend they are having a Green weekend, not only are prices reduced but a portion of the sales goes to support the Beach Co-Op, if ever you needed a bag, perhaps now is the time… And they have a competition… we will definitely be taking our bags for a beach cleanup this weekend!!!
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