Kerry had been driving around with an abandoned liferaft in the back of her car for a while before she finally did something with it. “It was lockdown and I had this idea to make bags out of abandoned liferafts and lilos, so I finally took a really good look at the liferaft I had been driving around. I had found it dumped in a bin, it was in perfect condition and made of really strong material. I knew it would make a great foundation for a series of bags.” So she chopped it up and started to sew.

Being a professional auto, yacht and marine upholsterer meant that she had some ideas about how to put the bags together, but there was still a learning curve as she figured out what she liked. Two years on and the business which was born out of lockdown, Boa Planet, is going from strength to strength.

Why had she hoarded a liferaft in her car? “The fabric really appealed to me. It was really good stuff! I’ve always been a bit of a Womble, finding and upcycling things so it was just second nature really.” As we sit in Kerry’s kitchen in Sa Rapita with her husband Jamie popping in and out of the room she tells me about how Boa Planet took shape.

“It was Spring 2020 and we had just moved here, right next to Es Trenc which is well known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Mallorca. Although it was only the beginning of the holiday season, all these sad looking, deflated crocodiles and flamingos had started to overflow the bins on our local beaches. We started to look deeper for uses for these non-recyclable PVC products. I decided to put an appeal out for donations of old lilos on Facebook. I was inundated with them! And I am still getting them, two years on.”

What do you typically get? “A lot of unicorns, turtles, crocodiles, swans. Plus I have connections now with companies who service liferafts, when there is one which needs to be retired I get a call!”

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Every piece of PVC which can be recycled into another item is one less thing being incinerated or put into landfill. “It’s full of nasty chemicals and takes a very long time to decompose.” (After the interview I look it up. It’s a very, very long time. 500 hundred years in fact.) It’s second nature to Kerry to see the potential in an item which might have been abandoned by a bin, “A lot of our furniture is recycled from the street, cleaned, painted and reupholstered. I buy many of my clothes from second hand shops, I love to create something unique from someone else’s throwaways.” Kerry shows me her workshop. There are a pile of vintage denim jackets that she is working on, adding PVC patches and giving them a new personality.

What is driving you with this business? “I want to raise awareness about polyvinyl chloride (PVC), it is the primary plastic used in life rafts and lilos and is non recyclable. All of those lilos are basically single use plastics, they are bought by tourists, used for a week and then dumped in the bin. I have heard stories that hotels are not allowed to reuse them because of health and safety regulations, so they are just abandoned. I want to play my part in encouraging people to think differently and move away from unthinking and wasteful consumerism which is critically damaging the environment. By making use of the liferafts and lilos I am hoping to repurpose tons of toxic plastics into usable products providing plastic with a prolonged and useful life.”

The bags themselves are unique, colourful, and attractive. Kerry makes handbags, shower bags, clutch bags and accessories using the liferafts as the foundation of the items and then the lilos as texture and pops of colour. She is now working on stock for Christmas and you might see her at a market near you soon, or you can make an enquiry for a bag through her website https://www.boaplanet.co.uk

You can also ask her to specifically upcycle a lilo which has sentimental value to yourself if that appeals.

Kerry is always on the look out for discarded plastics: Lilos, flamingos, unicorns & crocodile inflatables, rubber rings and paddling pools, dinghies, banana boats, inflatable camping mattresses and bouncy castles will all find a home at Boa Planet. If you have a beach bar, shop or restaurant in Mallorca and would like to get involved in collecting items then please get in contact.

You can see more about Kerry and her bags on her website.