From trash to treasure – how one Kingston University student is creating recycled jewellery to combat environmental issues

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A Kingston University student has started a side business selling jewellery solely made from recyclable materials.

Allegra Seymour, 21, created her jewellery using materials such as plastic from bottles, pop tabs, and even e-liquid cartridges.

Seymour said: “When I’m at parties, I am always going around asking people to take their bottle tops and pop tabs off their drinks.

“I guess I’m kind of like a magpie. I’m always on the lookout for treasure, things that I can pick up and add to my collection, and incorporate into my jewellery.”

The fine art and art history student also creates her jewellery through the method of upcycling – the process of transforming waste materials or unwanted goods into new products of better quality and environmental value.

Seymour has created an Instagram page (@madebylegs) where people can view her designs and has also just launched a website where she sells her jewellery, with prices ranging from £4.50 to £6.

She said: “I started making earrings in my first year of university, and I made them primarily as gifts for friends. However, about a year ago, I started experimenting with upcycling materials.

“I’ve always been environmentally conscious, and I believe it’s our duty to try and be as proactive as possible with regards to playing our part in countering climate change.

“Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues, and the majority of our plastic waste ends up in the ocean.

“I kind of view my designs as an interception of single-use plastics, and by buying a pair you are essentially giving the material another lease of life.”

The Kingston student, who is also a qualified surf instructor and has seen the effects plastic pollution has on our oceans, only purchases other materials for her jewellery from charity shops.

This way, she ensures that her jewellery is made through solely the means of upcycling.

Seymour remains optimistic about the future of her innovative products: “It’s kind of crazy how quickly the business has taken off. At the moment, I’m obviously juggling the business alongside my studies, but once university is finished, I would love to watch the business grow and become even bigger.

“I already get such a kick from just seeing mates and people around the university wearing them,” she said.

“I’ve received the loveliest messages from complete strangers, saying that they love what I’m doing and have spotted my products at the other end of the country or across university campuses.”

Seymour’s products can be found on her Instagram page or through her website at: https://12store.app/madebylegs

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