Shelley Bakker in a red vest sits on a blue retro bicycle with a basket and highlighter yellow panniersEver wondered what happens to bouncy castles at the end of their life? On most occasions they end up in landfill or in the ocean. But once they are in the hands of Recycle Recreate founder Shelley Bakker, they get turned into bags, wallets and pouches.

Prebbleton resident of 14 years, Shelley has always had a passion for creating and being sustainable, and has blended the two into one.

What started with making produce bags under her branding Bags Not Plastic, Shelley now makes a variety of products from recycled materials selling them at Lincoln and Prebbleton markets. Shelley has a passion for finding these materials, sourcing them from second hand stores like the Eco Shop, from blind makers, seatbelt replacers and other contacts she has.

A red seatbelt from a Porsche is now a wallet, old tents get turned into ponchos, white air bags from shipping containers become frost covers, face masks made from offcuts and flat phone cords and those panniers attached to Shelley’s delivery bike used to be billboard signs.

“I try to use as much as I can of each material. Some of my items are just one-offs. I like the excitement of making something totally new and unique.”

Shelley has sold her products as far as England and Canada and delivers products by bike to customers in Prebbleton.

From helping school fundraisers to running a popular clothing swap with her friend and organising the Prebbleton Market, Shelley is active in her community and continually sharing her message about sustainability.

“My main thing is keeping stuff out of landfill and educating people. Most people think it’s impossible to aim for zero waste, however, if every person just changed one thing, it will make a huge difference.”

By buying local Shelley says that you are not only supporting the family behind the business, you are living environmentally friendly and reducing your carbon footprint.

“It’s the sustainable side about shopping locally because you’re buying quality local made goods that are going to last, compared to super cheap things from overseas that may never turn up!”