How Plastic Bottles Launched a Jewellery Collection
In response to the growth of plastic pollution worldwide, Jianhui London has launched a jewellery range made entirely out of discarded plastic bottles. The Aqua Collection is handmade and has the smallest carbon footprint possible, with no extra energy used in its production.
Ethical jewellery designer Jianhui was initially inspired to work with plastic bottles as a result of seeing the destruction they can inflict on the environment. With only about nine percent of plastic currently recycled worldwide, it’s a problem that continues to take a heavy toll on the planet. Even a decade ago, about 300 billion plastic bottles were sold; this number is now approximately 500 billion.
Yet the project remained an idea until the Covid-19 pandemic. When the health crisis slowed consumer demand, it affected the artisans in China who make Jianhui London’s jewellery by hand. As their income shrunk, Jianhui decided it was time to turn his idea into a new range that would employ his artisans’ skills. Using some personal savings, Jianhui commissioned them to collect the plastic bottles from Hunan - a province in China where the designer grew up - and turn them into eco-conscious accessories.
All of the necklaces and earrings in the Aqua Collection are handmade and inspired by nature, in particular willow trees and lily ponds. Each bottle was thoroughly cleaned before being cut into different shapes; they were treated with environmentally friendly candle heat, to smooth rough and uneven edges; and finally hand painted or hand gilded. They are held together with either leatherette or recycled textile cord. The collection is made to the highest ethical standards, produced sustainably and kind to the planet.
Jianhui says: “If everyone does something small, then the world can be a different place. Big changes can come in small steps.”
Jianhui London is an ethical jewellery designer based in London. For over 15 years, the company has worked with recycled materials and offcuts, making as much as possible by hand and using as little energy as possible.