Tossed Teddy's Turn into Creative Creations

People often think of rubbish as smelly, stinky, dirty stuff. Not cute fluffy teddy bears and new-new toys. Even so, these turn into rubbish for many families who no longer have a need for these once cherished treasures.

That’s where Lesley Ottey from Eco Educate comes in. Since 20 April 2016, Lesley has been running a pick-up from the Rangiora Salvation Army, collecting boxes of pre-loved teddy bears and toys that get dropped off to the centre. “We’re not just talking a few bags here and there. There have been 32 picks ups totalling over 4,000 bears and toys – many of which are in near new condition” says Lesley.  

The idea to re-purpose teddy bears into door stoppers, hot water bottle covers and the like first came about from Linda Pocock from Oxford Area School. “Linda thought it would be a great idea to work with the students to take teddy bears and other soft toys out of the waste stream and re-purpose them”. This idea has spread to more schools in Waimakariri since Linda showed Lesley their repurposed bears.

80 bears were stuffed with lavender on Monday this week by Ohoka School children and will be handed to the New Zealand Fire Service, Police and Ambulance to give out to distressed children. Others have been made into hand puppets to give to earthquake affected play centres.

Lesley’s passion is to remove as much re-usable material from the waste stream as possible. “As great as it is to see the teddy bears being re-purposed, the sad fact is that they make it to the Salvation Army, waste streams and other community drop off areas in the first place. There’s a thinking out there that everything needs to be bought brand new. If people saw some of the toys that come through second hand shops, they would be amazed.

“It’s just a shift in mind set that’s needed. Either don’t buy it in the first place, or maybe think about looking in second hand shops – not only are you doing the environment a favour, but the money you pay goes back to the community. It’s a no brainer”.

Lesley’s journey of unwanted toys will feature on Good Sorts, TV One News on Sunday evening from 6.55pm.


Contact: Kitty Waghorn

Phone: 03 311 8900