Earrings - Huia Feathers
Earrings inspired by the beautiful Aotearoa New Zealand native bird, the Huia.
As seen on our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern! Remix Plastic have chosen the tragedy of the extinction of the Huia* to tell of the unintended consequences that can arise when sustainable practices aren’t integrated into our desire for new things.
The recycled plastic products that Remix Plastic make are not simply fashion items but are a vehicle to empower people to make sustainable changes, whether big or small. With locally collected waste they create products that have a sustainable story - this not only diverts waste from landfill but also provides a way to engage people in a conversation around reducing single use plastic.
These earrings have been created as part of Remix Plastic’s sustainability education programme. Remix Plastic educates about responsible consumption and production including fast fashion.
Please be aware that these Huia Feathers are now a new design:
Remix Plastic are excited to have recently updated the design of the huia feather earrings to allow them to scale up to fulfil demand. While the original design was black and white plastic melted together, the challenges with running out of white plastic has led to making earrings that are black with painted white tips. They are still 100% recycled plastic and the process is as environmentally friendly as possible. Read on for more information about the original process of making the Huia Feathers but bear in mind that these earrings have painted white tips.
The feathers measure 4cm x 1cm at their widest point.
Hypoallergenic and silver in colour.
What did you say they're made from?
These earrings, along with many of the Remix Plastic accessories, are made from 3D printer waste plastic (PLA). The plastic waste comes from the Production Studio of Christchurch’s central library, Tūranga and from other makerspaces around Aotearoa. The production studio is located on Auahatanga, the fourth floor of the library, and has five 3D printers that are used for custom print jobs and 3D printing classes.
PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a common 3D printer filament material. This is technically commercially compostable but it isn’t accepted by any facilities in New Zealand. Because PLA is made from plants, its production has a lower carbon footprint than traditional petroleum-based plastics, however there are no regulations around PLA production here in New Zealand. (For more information on this complicated subject, read more at One Planet.)
How are they made?
The black and white 3D printer waste is collected by Remix Plastic and chipped up into small pieces. They then sort through the chips to pick out any rogue colours before laying out black and white plastic on a reusable silicone sheet. A sheet press is used to melt the plastic** into a long narrow sheet which is then left to cool. These sheets are then taken back to Auahatanga in Tūranga where the production studio’s laser cutter is used to cut the sheets into feather shapes. The sheets are very carefully aligned so that the feathers will be laser cut to include the iconic white tip.
Does the process create waste?
Once the sheets are cut, the black and white plastic is snapped apart and is put back into the pile to be chipped and melted again. This waste plastic can be cycled through the system indefinitely for the black and about 5 times for the white (it loses the brightness over time).
There are strict quarantine procedures to ensure no microplastics escape the workshop, including carefully managing shredded plastic and regularly sweeping.
I have 3D printer waste, can I give it to Remix Plastic?
Sure! Get in touch and see what they are needing. Be aware they only take PLA (not carbon composite or ABS).
For display, the earrings are attached to a 100% recycled card.
Each feather is unique with its own colours (and blemishes) - they are fully functioning and we celebrate their uniqueness, as we hope you do! Please get in touch if you are not satisfied with your purchase and we will do what we can to resolve any issues in a timely manner.
* Before producing the Huia Feather Earrings, advice was sought from a cultural advisor
** Please note that melting plastic can release hazardous fumes and should not be carried out at home without adequate Health and Safety equipment. See the Remix Plastic blog on this topic for more information.