“Great textiles shouldn’t cost the earth,” reads Weaver Green’s tagline. They usually do, though; especially when they’re touted as sustainable. Fortunately, Weaver Green has stuck to its word. The Devon-based rugs and textiles creator offers eco-friendly products at an affordable price point. Take its herringbone blankets, for instance. These are handwoven from up to 300 recycled single-use plastic bottles. In fact, the entirety of Weaver Green’s range is produced from recycled plastic bottles – something which founders Tasha and Barney Green thought to do 12 years ago when they first founded the company, and arguably before sustainability went mainstream.
Communities in areas such as northern India collect plastic bottles discarded in the street, being paid well for their yield. These bottles are collected, weighed, washed and turned into small plastic chips, which are then heated in vats powered by recycled rice and wheat husks, melting them into a liquid. This goes through what is essentially a large shower head, creating long fine fibres which are spun into yarn and hand-loomed into various fabrics. To date, Weaver Green has recycled more than 240 million plastic bottles through this process.
Despite being made from discarded bottles, the herringbone blankets could be mistaken for wool; better yet, they are all machine washable and can be used both inside the home and outside in the garden. So, how did it all start, and what can we expect from the ‘green’ textile producer?
How was Weaver Green first founded?
Tasha and I were in India, where we got married, and we were inspired by the creativity and the opportunity to make products there. We had previously made coir rugs and we were aware that there were fisherman making things from recycled fishing nets, so we started to work with those who had the technology to do this around 12 years ago to build a product which was modern enough, technical enough and had a good enough finish to sell as a rug in the Western world. From there, we launched Weaver Green in 2016. It really took off, but people weren’t that interested in the recycling aspect at that point. So, the business then went through various stages of organic growth; we own the business ourselves and we’re proud of being able to manage it and make decisions quickly. Then Blue Planet II came along, with David Attenborough talking about single-use plastic bottle and the state of the environment, which helped to bring our brand to the forefront of people’s minds.
How has the brand developed?
We started off with a very small range of products and now have about 700. It has grown incrementally, as we have worked with different types of weavers and fabrics to create viable products which are also affordable. We built up our stock, which is now held at our head office and showroom in Devon.
How important is the garden centre market to Weaver Green?
We’ve been building this area of interest as it’s a great market for us. We’ll have one of the biggest stands at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, illustrating that those with gardens who visit garden centres are definitely our target audience. What’s more, garden centres are destinations now, and people are considering how valuable their outside space is, no matter how big or small. Garden centres are where people go to make decisions on how to dress this space, so they’re enormously important to us.
Are there POS options available?
We have a wonderful new POS. We’ve found that when people go to garden centres, they want to pick up packaged products to take away. We’ve gone through a phase of working with garden centres to sell bigger rugs, but we now also have a range of doormats launching next year. We also have blankets and cushions which can be used inside and outside. So, if garden centres want to engage with us, we have a gorgeous new stand which keeps all our products in one area and explains that they are made from recycled bottles; it’s attractive and comprehensive so that customers can understand what they are purchasing.