Reduce, Reuse, Receycle

Plastic bags are one of the most recognisable emblems of our modern throwaway culture. However, Central Saint Martin’s graduate, Lusine...

Plastic bags are one of the most recognisable emblems of our modern throwaway culture. However, Central Saint Martin’s graduate, Lusine Hakobyan, 23, has transformed these waste products into bespoke accessories.

The amount of plastic waste generated annually in the UK is estimated to be nearly three million tonnes. On average, 17.5 billion plastic bags are used per year. The majority of these bags end up in landfill where it can take 1,000 years for one bag to decompose.

Lusine, originally from Armenia, designs and creates accessories from a variety of plastic bags:  “My work has a strong accent on hand made crafts.  When viewed or used, it can raise ecological awareness and a sense of responsibility towards caring for our environment” she said.

Prior to recycling, plastics must be sorted manually into different categories. The need to separate into the various different sections means that in practice the most commonly recycled household plastic item is the plastic bottle.

Making carrier bags from recycled plastic consumes two-thirds less energy; releases lower levels of pollutants and uses nearly ninety per cent less water than making them from new plastic. However, each year billions of bags end up as ugly and dangerous litter, in rivers, streams travelling towards the sea.

Lusine has created bags, baskets, purses and corsages from plastic bags, using techniques such as knitting, crocheting and weaving.

The inspiration for the designs began when she was walking through Bloomsbury Square, in Holborn, thinking about design opportunities for the self- initiated project in the second year of her degree.

“I noticed Sainsbury bags lying all over the green space; they were on the pathway, pavement, grass, and even hiding in the middle of the bushes.  I decided there and then that I wanted to create products using the plastic bags, and using any other waste materials that have a potential” she said.

At close inspection no one could imagine that these innovative and aesthetically pleasing accessories could be created from a simple plastic bag.  The only suggestion to their composition is the vibrant cadmium orange colour palette, which has a strong association with the Sainsbury’s supermarket company.

In 2009, Lusine sold one product from the collection to a customer in France for 250 Euros, in order to raise funds for an Armenian charity.  Since then Lusine has completed a number of private commissions and exhibits at various craft exhibitions and fetes.

The future for Miss Hakobyan and her ecological accessories is as bright as the colour she produces them in. She said; “I am developing new ideas all the time in order to create new products.  I hope to inspire everyone to reduce, reuse, and recycle. If you don’t know where to take your plastic bags, send them to me please”.

For more information on Lusine's designs, please click here to venture to her website.  If you have any bags you wish to donate for her designs, please contact us at the email address found on our Home page.

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