A WOMAN who set up a business to re-purpose single use plastics and other items into handmade ornaments, has described it as a hobby that has “gone a bit mad”.

Mandy Merritt, from Rottingdean, started making ornaments such as lampshades out of paper a few years ago, but soon decided to start reusing plastic for her art instead.

The mother-of-two said living by the sea and seeing pollution on the beach inspired her to be more eco-conscious.

She said: “It was a hobby that has gone a bit mad. Going back about three years ago I used to work with paper.

“For three years now, I have been mainly using milk cartons and all single use plastic bottles and things.

The Argus: Mandy's shop in Rottingdean.Mandy's shop in Rottingdean.

“The hobby went a bit mad and a tiny shop came up in Rottingdean, it was very small and it was affordable for me. So yeah I just went for it really.

“The interest is amazing, I can hear people outside the shop window talking about it.

Mandy opened the shop about three months ago and said interest has been high in the local area.

She sells a range of products, from handmade wedding bouquets and posies, lampshades and even candle holders all out of plastic.


Mandy said her daughter encouraged her to give the business a go and that she is going to give it a year and see what happens.

She said: “I think people do need to become more aware of what we’re throwing away. It was one of them things, my daughter said ‘go for it mum’ and I wasn’t sure that I would even get it [the shop] because a few other people were interested.

“I also up-cycle furniture, any furniture that has been left on the roadside ready for the skip. The whole of the shop, it’s not just the plastic, everything I do such as the furniture as well.”

The Argus: One of Mandy's designs made of plastic bleach bottles (left), and a handmade lampshade made of seven plastic bottles (right).One of Mandy's designs made of plastic bleach bottles (left), and a handmade lampshade made of seven plastic bottles (right).

Prices range from around £15 for an item, to £300 for a full handmade wedding bouquet. Mandy said she makes all her items herself and bases the price off how long they take to make.

She also said she does commission work to fit into people's budgets.

For more information on Re… - visit their Instagram page or pop into the shop in 72 High Street, Rottingdean, BN2 7HR.