Precious Plastic SeyTreasure: New designs by recycling plastic waste in Seychelles

Business |Author: Sharon Ernesta | April 27, 2024, Saturday @ 09:00| 4559 views

The aim of the new business is to reduce single-use plastic waste and turn it into another product or reusable shape design. (Lara Gutser)

(Seychelles News Agency) - Precious Plastic SeyTreasure, based in the western Mahe district of Grand Anse, is an innovative plastic recycling business, incorporating innovative recycling techniques and customised unique designs, which opened its doors in March.

Lara Gutser, one of the owners, told SNA that the aim of the new business is to reduce single-use plastic waste such as bottle caps, food containers, empty shampoo, detergent, and soap bottles to process it locally and to turn it into another product or reusable shape-design, which will be used for accessories, jewellery, decorative items, key rings, flower pots, among others.

"Our vision is a clean, plastic-free and sustainable environment to preserve the exceptional beauty of the Seychelles," explained Gutser. 

Gutser explained that the plastic waste types of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) are collected from the beaches and the local community, and that this waste is shredded and transformed into "small treasures."

Some of the designs made with single-use plastic waste. (Lara Gutser) Photo License: All Rights Reserved

Gutser, a German national, said that she has been a regular visitor to Seychelles – 115 islands' archipelago in the western Indian Ocean – for over 30 years.

"I visited Seychelles regularly since 1990 (around 50 times) and fell in love with those beautiful islands and I moved to Seychelles seven years ago," she explained.

A nature lover who also enjoys hiking, Gutser said that since May 2022, together with a group of friends, she started to get voluntarily involved in beach cleanups, cleaning plastic washed up or left behind while walking the beach. In 2022, approximately 150 beach cleanups were done by the group, something that they have documented.

“In 2023, we did a total of 314 beach cleanups. This is how and where the idea for SeyTreasure was formed," added Gutser.

It took Gutser and a Seychellois partner around 18 months to start the business, including the period from submitting the project to the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) to receiving all relevant approvals and setting up the company.

Gutser, who has invested in the machines and molds for the business, says that for now, she is producing a variety of key rings. These represent some of Seychelles’ key features such as Mahe island, the coco de mer and the giant tortoise as well as flower pots in different colours, which are ideal for herbs and other small plants such as cactus.

Gutser, who has invested in the machines and molds for the business, says that for now, she is producing a variety of key rings. (Precious Plastic SeyTreasure) Photo License: All Rights Reserved

“They all have a unique colour design and there will not be two exactly the same products'' added Gutser.

For now, products from Precious Plastic SeyTreasure are available at two shops, at the Koral Boutique at Beau Vallon and the Yves Souvenir Cachee in the Camion Hall building in the capital of Victoria.  

Gutser said that she will explore other retail outlets for her products but in the meantime, she is focused on recycling as much plastic as possible, something she says is crucial for the outstanding and natural beauty of the islands.

“We do accept donations of clean plastic type HDPE and PP – the plastic type stamp is usually at the bottom of containers and bottles, but not PET [polyethylene terephthalate] though," said Gutser, who also collects plastic waste in the Grand Anse, Mahe, area.

Waste management is a hot topic currently, now that the country's main landfill located at Providence will reach its full capacity next year, Seychelles has taken many steps to reduce the amount of plastic that gets dumped at the landfill.

In 2017, the government banned the importation and sales of plastic bags, and plastic utensils including cups, forks, Styrofoam takeaway boxes, and plates. This was followed by a ban on single-use plastic straws in June 2019 and on balloons in 2021.

To encourage recycling and minimise the amount of waste ending up at the landfills, the country encourages the redeeming of PET and glass bottles as well as aluminium cans.  

Tags: Precious Plastic SeyTreasure