Adejoke Lasisi: Making a School Bag From 250 Used Water Sachets

Adejoke Lasisi turns discarded sachets of drinking water into art by using them to weave attractive items including clothes, slippers, bags and mats. Nylon water sachets are a major pollutant where she lives in Ibadan, frequently found clogging up drains and littering the streets. Adejoke Lasisi, who is in her early 30s, is from a traditional, middle-class weaving family in Ibadan. Aged nine, she started weaving the popular aso-òfì, a material made from cotton threads, traditionally woven by Yorùbá people.

Now, she has turned her craft into a way to relieve her home city of some of its waste burden. In Nigeria, discarded “pure water” sachets – small, rectangular sachets of drinking water made from nylon – are a common sight on roads and in gutters. “I began to pick them up,” she says. “I also began to think of what I could do with them

“People were always complaining about the pure water nylon sachets everywhere. I worked out that it would be great to make these nylon sachets into colourful clothing.”

She has now perfected the art of blending weaving wool with nylon. Doing this involves a five-step process before the sachets are transformed into attractive products such as bags, purses, slippers, mats, artwork and more.

First, Lasisi sources the nylon – picking up sachets from the streets and receiving discarded, imperfect sachets from water processing plants. She says the nylon used to make pure water sachets has two advantages: It is the right texture for weaving and is largely a neutral colour, meaning it is easy to dye.

“After sorting, we wash the material thoroughly and disinfect it, after which we dry it in the sun. The whole process takes three days. Once dried, we shred the material with scissors into thread-like strands. Then, we can begin to weave them on the loom.”

One of her most popular products is a school bag which is made from 10 percent òfì and 90 percent nylon and recycles 250 water sachets in the process.

Since Lasisi started Planet3R, her for-profit business, in 2020, she has also partnered with different organisations and won several grants in Nigeria and overseas to train young people in the art.

“I hope that other young people will be able to save the environment with their hands too. The more wastepreneurs we have, the cleaner our environment becomes.”