Plastic Gold: beauty combined with eco-friendly materials

The beauty of gold combined with the upcycling of plastic bottles culminates into a finished product that is both stunning and environmentally friendly.


In the sloping dunes of the Sahara desert, you will find the Saharawi refugee camps where they are turning waste from the refugee camps into pieces of jewellery that have the allure of gold.


British designer, Florie Salnot collaborated with a nonprofit based in London that works with the Saharawis of Algeria.

Gold Plastic Upcycled

The aim of the project was to use resources that were easy to obtain in the refugee camps. Hence, the production process uses just plastic bottles, sand and some paint. The start of the production process involves the plastic bottles being painted. Once dry, the plastic bottles are cut into strips and woven around intricately arranged nails that have been hammered into a board. Once secured the entire board is submerged into hot sand that shrinks the plastic around the pattern on the nails. The finished products are intricate designs that are truly stunning.

ziurla necklace

Plastic Gold Necklace

The team also wanted to create a finished product that was inspired by the Saharawi traditional style. Back in London, Florie works on the final collection of jewellery, where they are displayed at exhibitions with the ultimate aim that the pieces will start to generate an income stream for the Saharawi community.

The finished products show that it is possible to combine the upcycling of plastic bottles with a simple production process to provide a stunning product that is helping to uplift a community and help the environment.


Images via: Florie Salnot
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