There’s so much joy to be had from normal-sized things made miniature (so cute!), but Heliograf’s playful sushi-soy-inspired lamps proves the reverse is true too.

Two Sydney designers, Jeffrey Simpson and Angus Ware, have taken the seemingly innocuous fish-shaped soy-sauce squirter design, scaled it up and, using upcycled plastic litter, created lamps.

It’s not only practical, it also highlights the big problem we’re facing with small single-use plastics. “The cute little soy fish are an unfortunate environmental disaster,” Ware says in a statement. “They are hugely wasteful and deadly to marine life – ironic given their shape.”

Ware and Simpson both live on the coast and were frustrated to see the tiny plastic vestibules washing up on the beach. To them, the problem was emblematic of a huge global issue with plastic pollution. According to the Australian Marine Conservation Society, eight million tons of plastic is dumped into the oceans every year, where it’s ingested by marine animals, causing contamination as well as entanglement. While most plastic waste is generated by high-income countries, the majority of plastic in the ocean comes from rivers in low-to-middle income countries, according to Our World Data.

The designers created an earlier version of the Light Soy lamps at the height of the pandemic. After selling out, they decided they wanted not just to raise awareness of the pollution issue but to have a direct impact and help create change.

“When we first designed Light Soy we experimented with recycled plastic, and it was of low quality and questionable origin. Now, in just a few years, small studios like ours have access to certified recycled ocean-bound plastics. It’s exciting that so much progress has been made already,” says Ware.

The lamps are now made with 75 per cent ocean-bound polypropylene, but there’s a plan to up that to 100 per cent. The pair found there are other benefits to using the recycled material, such as lower energy use in production and greater durability, which means less packaging. For every lamp sold, Heliograf funds the clean-up of some two kilograms of plastic.

The lights come in three styles. The portable lamp ($279) has touch-control dining and USB-C recharge. The limited-edition luxe version ($329) has a powder-coated aluminium base, silicone and charging cable. There’s also a pendent-light version ($279). A full charge will give you up to 20 hours of light.