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Recycled Style

Kimberley Hibbert All Woman writer

One of Preddie’s hair accessories — a pink headpiece that may be worn in place of a hat to a formal function.

A figurine made from plastic that can be used to hold plants from her TerryTRay line

(L-R) Earrings of plastic from her Aviola Stush line. An item of jewellery from her ‘Bead Me Up’ line made from plastic.

Melissa Preddie, jeweller and owner of Aviola Accessories.

 

HEARING that your jewellry and other accessories are made from recycled plastic bottles may not rest well in your mind, and Melissa Preddie faced much opposition when she started Aviola Accessories.

“Persons said ‘nobody’s gonna buy that, it’s cheap; but I knew what my business was about and I was not going to be deterred,” Preddie said.

The now 33-year-old Preddie started Aviola Accessories in 2010, when she was unemployed after previously serving as a customer care representative. Preddie said she was into recycling and, being surrounded by a mountain of plastics bottles, she decided to research how she could use them to do something worthwhile and profitable.

“After I did my research I began making decorative pieces and hair accessories, but when I approached a Jamaica Business Development Cooperation (JBDC) officer, she told me to rethink my concept and do something that everyone wasn’t doing,” she said.

This took Preddie back to the drawing board and further research led her to begin making jewellery by means of moulding the plastic.

“When I started this, persons were fascinated as they had no idea what was used to make the earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings they were buying. If I didn’t tell them, they had no idea because it looks and feels like stone,” Preddie said.

She added: “I prefer this method because the artistic individual doesn’t want to look average.”

But when the thought of melting plastic comes to mind, many might question the possible environmental and health risks associated with the practice.

Preddie, however, said the melting of the material for moulding isn’t done on a large scale, as layering is also a method she employs, and the machines used reduce the amount of fumes released into the atmosphere.

Said she: “The area is properly ventilated, and I also wear the necessary protective gear such as a respirator over my nose to protect me from the fumes, though it’s not much. I also wear a protective glove.”

Preddie added that the product is considered ‘green’ as it helps to protect the environment.

“It is not garbage, because it is not biodegradable. When the plastics are recycled they prevent flooding, clogged drains, and pollution of the sea, which kills our sea creatures,” she said.

Operating out of Mandeville, Manchester, she encourageds others across the island to find a recycling unit for plastics instead of littering the environment.

Moreover, Preddie admits that it was her passion for a healthier environment that led her to this innovation.

“People take our environment for granted and toss bottles from cars, into gullies, and they all end up in the Kingston Harbour. Do some research and you’ll see how much you could use the plastic to do, and save yourself some cash. It can be used for decorative blocks, roofing and tiling. Take these things into focus and start a recycling project,” she said.

The JBDC and Northern Caribbean University provided Preddie with grants for her business, while the United Nations Habitat — Young Women and Men of Purpose provided her with marketing tools.

She now makes jewellery for all tastes and pockets.

Preddie encourages young people to find a niche market, as there are opportunities out there for creating employment and even export.

 

Reposted from: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Recycled-Style_17483465