A Fairer, Greener World: Fairtrade Recycled Products

At Headington Fairtrade, we sell a wide range of products imaginatively and skillfully made from recycled or re-used materials, including glass bottles, old saris, tin cans, newspaper, aluminium and even old bottle caps!

The lovely thing about these products is that they are unusual and unique, as often there’s just one small workshop in the whole world making them, and of course in making your purchase, you know that you are buying something that is sustainable and ethical – with something that otherwise would have ended up in landfill being transformed into something beautiful. Our enticing shop window this month showcases many of these products, so here is a little more information about the background to some of them.

Recycled Newspaper Bowls: These come in various sizes and are handmade using 100% recycled newspapers by a social enterprise in Sri Lanka called Earthbound Creations for our supplier Paper High. Earthbound Creations aims to minimise the environmental damage caused by the overuse and unsustainability of plastics and so only use eco-friendly recycled paper to create stunning gifts. Many of the artisans are homeworkers, thus allowing those who may be mothers, disabled or of an older age to work and therefore still provide for themselves and others. This Fairtrade producer is committed to helping their community as much as possible, and with the success of their business, have helped over 250 families and have reduced the migration of women as labourers into towns and to overseas destinations.

Recycled Glass Jugs and Tumblers: These are hand blown in Mexico from glass made from recycled drink bottles and other scrap glass. The glass is collected, often from the street, and sold to the small family run workshop that makes this glassware. The bottles are then melted down and hand blown and then shaped into something new. Because of this, each beautiful piece has its own unique characteristics and a solid, weighty feel. The range, from our suppliers Tumia, has been designed to combine traditional handcrafted skills with modern influences to produce a great collection of different sizes, colours and shapes. The glass is even dishwasher safe.

Recycled Silk and Felt Scarves: These have long been a favorite in the shop. They are handcrafted by one of the leading and most inspiring felt making producers in Nepal. Recycled silk is overlain with brushstrokes of felt to create rich textures and colours and a luxurious feel. The scarves are both warm, surprisingly lightweight and soft to touch. This Kathmandu based producer is a Fairtrade company which provides training and work for women within some of the poorest communities in Nepal – to date the company has empowered more than 100 women. They are committed to being as “green” as possible through their choice of raw materials (including using recycled silk) and dyes as well as using solar energy to help run its operations. The felt is made from merino wool and has no artificial colours or dyes.

Mandira Cotton Cushion Covers: Bohemian, eclectic, bursting with colour but wonderfully contemporary with hand stitched white detailing, the Mandira cotton cushion cover is hand loomed by highly skilled artisans in India. It is not only hard-wearing and versatile but it is made from 100% recycled cotton.

Cards From Africa Greetings Cards: Every one of these gorgeous greetings cards is carefully made by hand in the Rwandan workshop, is signed on the back by the cardmaker, and incorporates handmade paper which is made by recycling office waste. This makes these cards environmentally friendly, and ensures that our producers have a large range of colours and textures of paper to work with. Cards from Africa restores hope to those who are struggling, offering well-paid employment to those who need it the most.  

Aluminium Bowls: Azeti’s signature range is a collection of recycled food safe aluminium bowls, platters and dishes that come in various colours, designs and sizes, including some featuring paintings created by wildlife artist Meg Hawkins. They are Fairtrade and hand made by Indian artisans working in cooperatives. The products are cast from old aluminium, then rough polished and enamelled before being beautifully finished with a smooth polish. Every one of these items is individually made to the very highest quality.