I Used to be Plastic. Now I’m a Beautiful Fair Trade Product!

We’ve all heard about the Plastic Island in the Pacific Ocean. We all know that plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose. There have been some novel ideas of what to do with plastic; schoolhouses and boats have been made out of plastic bottles.

Now, there’s upcycled plastic jewelry.

Upcycling is taking something that you would otherwise throw out and finding a way to make it into something else, something high quality and useful.

Here are some examples now available at the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store in San Francisco (map):

  • The Salt Lake City-based group Ambre Industries creates high-design collections with low-impact materials from around the world. The jewelry is made up of between 40-100% recycled materials, resulting in a very “green”  yet modern product.
  • Ambre Industries upcycled plastic line feature these hollow dew drop earrings, which are light, durable, and plastic! The intricate black designs are hand-knotted Raffia Palm leaf fibers, made by women between the ages of 18-24, from the remote village of Solukhumbu, Madagascar. This work of knitting lace-like configurations into jewelry pays for their college education. Sterling silver hooks complete the look of these elegant and contemporary earrings.
  • This Eco-resin ring is 40% recycled material.  The royal stone Eco-resin gem is hand sanded and is the perfect modern hand accessory.
  • Upcycling does not stop at plastic. These great new wristlets by Handmade Expressions are made out of 100% recycled fabric, plastic, and upcycled  cassette tapes! These bags are handcrafted by young adults with special needs from underprivileged communities  in metropolitan Delhi. The artisans are provided vocational training as a part of their overall development in order to inspire their creativity and help prepare them to become self sufficient in the future.

Upcycling is a great way to convert waste materials into usable products of high quality, keeping plastic and other materials that are non-biodegradable out of landfills, while also limiting new production pollution. Stop by the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store in San Francisco for these great new upcycled products and more!