Newquay students win competition turning beach microplastics into sustainable jewellery

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

A group of students in Newquay who have won a national competition for their sustainable jewellery are packing their bags for the international finals in Estonia.

The Ocean Revolution team make necklaces from recycled beach microplastics, scrunchies made from abandoned bodyboard fabric and plantable thank you cards.

The year 10 Newquay Tretherras students got the hat trick at this year's Young Enterprise awards with 'Company of the Year' the 'Sustainability Award' and 'Best Promotional Video".

Business teacher Hayley Bissenden says she "shed a tear" when the team were announced as the winners.

"They've worked really hard and the ideas they've had, and it's completely student led. I oversee, but I'm nowhere near as creative and as talented as these guys."

Recycled microplastics are set with eco-resin and mixed with dyes before being shaped and chained as necklaces. Credit: ITV News

Five members of the team will set off on Sunday 10 July for the Gen-E competition next week where the President and Prime Minister of Estonia will also be attending.

As well the excitement of competing against their European rivals, Mrs Bissenden says it'll be an extra special trip for one of their members who has never left the UK before.

"What a great opportunity for her and it's really exciting for that opportunity to represent the UK."

Eden Hayles, the team's head of customer relations, says their main ambition has always been to "save the beaches".

Eden says their success happened "pretty quickly". After initially being worried if people were going to like their products she says their first Christmas Fair was a "massive hit".

The team are hoping to buy a 'Nurdle Hoover' with their profits so they no longer have to hand sieve for plastics like these. Credit: ITV News

The 14 and 15 year olds say they hope their pieces can act as a "conversation starter" because they say "plastic pollution has become normalized and is no longer seen as the tragedy that it is".

The students hand sieve sand looking for larger pieces of plastic but marketing lead Kayley Paterson says this is a "monotonous and time consuming process" so they are aiming to buy a nurdle hoover with their company profits.

Since winning the UK title there have been plenty of shops in Newquay keen to sell their products. But in the build up to their GCSEs Mrs Bissenden says "keeping up with demand and their schoolwork and their exams - that's the biggest balancing act."