We are all aware that the Earth's resources are scarce and we need to recycle as much as we can to preserve them. This is why we use recycled tissue paper and paper carrier bags in our shop as a matter of course. We do have plastic carrier bags, but we reserve them only for when we absolutely must use them (or a customer specifically requests them). We know that many of our customers reuse our bags time and time again until they fall apart, and often recycle the paper ones again. In the last year we have given away fewer than 125 plastic carrier bags, compared to in excess of 750 paper carrier bags, and countless recycled paper counter bags.
We also ensure all of our large, unwanted cardboard cartons are either given to people who are moving house, or ethically disposed of in a recycling plant by a licenced contractor. Our dead batteries and spotlight bulbs also go for recycling. We recycle the polystyrene packing chips, bubblewrap, air pockets and small carboard boxes that come from our wholsalers. These are used to securely package and mail goods to customers all over the UK and Europe. We use the thicker paper, brown paper and screwed up tissue which comes from our wholesalers to stuff our gorgeous handbags and Troop bags so that they sit nicely on the shop shelves, hold their shape, and are displayed to their best advantage.
To let you into a little secret, we even use recycled kitchen roll and toilet paper! Although we prefer not to think too long about how the toilet paper is made ....
However good we may think we are at recycling, the inventive Balinese people have taken recycling to a whole new level in creating these amazing Teak Root and Glass Sculptures.
Since we first began to sell these amazing products back in the Spring, we've been asked many times about how they come into existence. We've now produced leaflets to give every customer who puchases one, but we thought we'd tell the story here, too.
All teak trees grown in Indonesia are the property of the Indonesian government, and any persons making products from these trees must first be granted a license to do so. The licence is granted only on condition that for every teak tree removed, four saplings must be planted in its place.
Even though the sculptures are made in Bali, there are actually no teak trees grown there: the teak roots are brought in from the neighbouring island of Java. The roots are left over from the prime teak tree trunks which are used for making furniture. The roots are used to make the sculptures and any roots that don't make the grade are used as fuel for melting the glass, so none of it goes to waste.
The glass used is entirely recycled and comes from just about anywhere that old glass is available: Coca Cola and beer bottles, car windscreens and windows; it all goes to use. In fact, these teak root sculptures are now so popular that manufacturers across Bali need more glass than they have: so much so that glass is even imported from recycling centres worldwide to meet the demand.
The customers who have bought these amazing creations, large and small, have put them to a wide variety of uses, they tell us: as vases for cut flowers, goldfish bowls, for dried and fresh flower arranging, storing sweets, growing air plants (which need no soil), and just for ornamental use. Well, they do make astonishing sculptures!
What would you use one for?