Craftivism Nedbank Plastic Bag Billboard

Published on April 20th, 2009 | by Kelly Rand

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World’s First Plastic Bag Billboard

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We missed this when it happened a couple of weeks ago, but a bank in South Africa has been up to some interesting advertising gimmicks. Billing itself as a “truly green bank,” Nedbank installed what is being called the world’s first billboard made from woven plastic bags in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The billboard was created using 2,000 (!) reclaimed plastic bags that were woven together to make the billboard, which measures over 120 feet in length. Nedbank employed seven crafters to create the billboard, taking them about six weeks to complete the project, making this a huge handmade project.

This is the third in a series of greener advertising for the Bank. The first billboard boasts solar panels that power its illumination at night, and provides extra power to help run a kitchen at a school in Alexandra. The second billboard has a wind turbine, where the electricity created from it goes to help power a different school in Cape Town.

Say what you will about advertising and banks – but boy do these South Africans have something on us. Such a great innovative idea that helps support both the environment and crafters.

What I like best about this woven billboard is its use of reclaimed materials, as all the bags were once litter, and of course that the whole thing is handmade. It is a wonderful example of sustainability and how to support local crafters and really get’s to the heart of economic, social and environmental capital.


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About the Author

Kelly covers visual arts in and around Washington, DC for DCist and is editor of Crafting a Green World. Kelly has also been published by Bust Magazine and you can find her byline at Indie Fixx and Etsy’s Storque and has taught in Etsy’s virtual lab on the topic of green crafting. Kelly helps organize Crafty Bastards: Arts and Crafts Fair, one of the largest indie craft fairs on the east coast and has served on the Craft Bastard’s jury since 2007. Kelly is also co-founder of Hello Craft a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. Kelly resides in Washington, D.C. and believes that handmade will save the world.



6 Responses to World’s First Plastic Bag Billboard

  1. Stephanie says:

    wow this is amazing! we should definitely be doing this in the states.

    –stephanie, KIWI web editor

  2. Becky says:

    I love this! From the materials to the process…it’s perfect.

  3. What a great statement! It’s good to see business getting into the green movement. I was looking at Nedbank’s website, and it’s really commendable how they created The Green Trust program – They’re truly green indeed. They can even take it a step further, and give incentives like better loan interest rates to green companies.

  4. Tania Jenkins says:

    I’m disappointed that you ran this story on your otherwise accurate and informative site.
    Here are a few reasons why I object to this:
    - Nedbank do not have a facility for sending statements by email (FNB does). So you get lots of paper in paper envelopes sent by snail mail – all NOT green.
    - Nedbank do not think before they post. I run a small business and have several accounts with Nedbank. When they send out brochures (on highly glossy un-green paper), we get about 14 of the same. Do they stop to think about the fact that all the credit cards are linked and one brochure might suffice? No.
    - Nedbank have a particularly un-green policy of posting me a BLANK statement. Nothing on it – just a zero amount for a DEBIT card. Debit cards do not normally receive statements (I’ve been collecting them now as proof)
    Nedbank is not green. Their ad spend is just bigger.

  5. pluflably says:

    I just got alcohol based hand sanitizer from this supplier. They seem to be a great source for any one needing hand sanitizer products.

  6. Stefan says:

    Very good promo gimmick! Great that is, until I read Tania’s comment. Disappointing that they don’t walk their talk.

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