A group of young Abergavenny students are turning trash into treasured items in a pioneering eco-project launched to get more girls interested in science subjects.

The students, from King Henry VIII 3-19 School, are part of a lunch-time club named The Plastics Lab, and are turning bottle tops made from HDPE plastic into jewellery, coasters, key rings and bookmarks. These are sold at markets and fairs with the hope of making money to invest in more equipment for their department and expand their work.

Teacher and project leader Raine Arken said: “We want to make our school as eco-friendly as possible.

“We noticed there was a lot of plastic being thrown away or littered so we decided to do something about it and recycle it,” she said.

The club started in 2022 with just two members as part of a STEM project (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

Ms Arken said: “We wanted to inspire more girls into design and technology since very few were interested in taking these subjects.”

Since then, interest in The Plastics Lab – open to boys and girls – has grown and there are now 20 members of the lab, currently including five boys, all from different age groups ranging from Years 7 and 8 to the 6th form.

The students collect the bottle tops, wash and sort out the plastic into colours before processing it. Only certain types of plastic can be used such as the type found mainly on the tops of shampoo, fruit juice and milk bottles.

South Wales Argus: Plastic can be turned into jewellery.Plastic can be turned into jewellery.

The cleaned plastic is then melted and turned into artistic or other useful items such as sheets of material for use in school projects or within the lab.

They hope to expand their range with new machinery bought from any profits. Top of the list is an injection moulding machine to make plant pots.

Their work was on sale at the recent Greener Abergavenny fair and there are plans to have an Abergavenny Market stall at Christmas time. The earrings are on sale for £4 while everything else is £3. Items will shortly be on sale in a town centre shop, Little Green Refills, in Market Street.