Design icon ‘Edelplast’ – Billie Van Nieuwenhuyzen

  • Words

    Christophe De Schauvre

Every other week, we propose a Limburg design icon together with Sjiek / Het Belang Van Limburg, or one that is well on its way to becoming one. This week it is Edelplast by Billie Van Nieuwenhuyzen.

WHAT: Marble-like plastic jewelry made from waste of power cables.

YEAR: 2015

Electronic waste or e-waste is an increasing environmental pollutant. Recycling programs mainly focus on the recovery of precious metals. The plastic sheath of the many cables that are stripped to recycle the copper is still just waste. There is not immediate a qualitative solution for these insulating sleeves.


“If you sort all these cables properly and grind and fuse their plastic, you can get new granulate. However, the quality is far too low to reuse the material, especially compared to all the effort put into it, ”says designer Billie Van Nieuwenhuyzen. She then looked for a way to revalue this residual plastic.

Billie Van Nieuwenhuyzen (° 1992) started this research during her studies “Object & Jewelery” at the Hasselt PXL-Mad Faculty and conducted all kinds of experiments to “refine” the residual plastic from the power cables. “By first cutting the cable sleeves into bars, I was able to make fabrics, as you would in a traditional way with wire or loom,” she explains.

“It is from these traditional weaving techniques that I first create patterns that also yield a graphically interesting color combination. Then I heat the thermoplastic fabrics to their melting point and the pattern is compressed.” The manufacturing process plays a major role at Edelplast, because Van Nieuwenhuyzen meticulously set out a number of detailed patterns. And they are reminiscent of ceramic or marble.


It led to a graduation collection of ten pieces with earrings, bracelets and necklaces and, above all, many enthusiastic reactions. In no time, Edelplast became a hip brand with a wide collection of affordable multiples. “There are many shops that have picked up the brand and I was able to expand Edelplast with the help of my webshop,” says Van Nieuwenhuyzen. But she says no to economy of scale. For the time being. “I also have many ideas for using other ‘raw materials’, such as cheap plastic from air mattresses and swimming pools.”

Because of her part-time job at the well-known jewelry label Wouters & Hendrix, Edelplast is now put on hold. “A job in digital marketing, but I learn a lot about the organizational side of jewelery. And at the same time I am also studying Communication Management. ” With a eye on the future this will also prove to be a successful fabric for Edelplast.

An Edelplast necklace costs 65 euros, you have earrings for 30 euros and for a wide bracelet you have to count on 95 euros.