Renowned for its handwoven, recycled plastic rugs and textiles, the company Weaver Green came about because the founders wanted to make something beautiful out of waste.
Based in Devonshire, Weaver Green textiles are made from 100 per cent recycled PET plastic bottles – they have recycled more than 260 million of the bottles in the past three years. And, having started out by making rugs, they have now expanded into blankets, cushions, bags and even pieces for the outdoors.
So who are the founders of Weaver Green? Tasha and Barney Green, who spent seven years developing their unique fibre to weave into rugs and fabrics. We spoke to Tasha to find out more about how the brand started…
Q&A with co-founder Tasha
When did you first realise you had an interest in design?
I have always collected antique textiles. I particularly love textiles because they often tell a story of women and culture. My interest in design has come from antiques – or “junking” as we used to call it – in Devon. We would always be drawn to interesting furniture and textiles.
When did you come up with the idea for Weaver Green?
I remember exactly where I was: I was on holiday, sitting on a wall in a port in Turkey. Looking down I could see so many plastic bottles and waste floating in the sea below us. It seemed totally bonkers that there was plastic in the water. So, we started our journey to find out whether we could have yarn made from recycled plastics. There was none available, so we had to make it ourselves.
The Weaver Green early years
What were the first few days of trading like?
It was painful; it took us about six years to get the yarn right – to look beautiful and feel like a natural fibre. The biggest challenge was creating a plastic fibre that wasn’t hard and had a plasticky feel. As soon as we had got past that, everything else became possible.
What were Weaver Green’s first products?
The first things we made were rugs – they are the foundation of what we are as a company – and they have always driven our styling ever since. We’ve bought out products to accessorise our rugs, but rugs are, first and foremost, our main product.
What were the first years like?
When we first started, it was challenging because people weren’t very interested in recycling or in the plastic problems we know about now. Back then, we mostly traded on the fact that our products were something people would want in their lives and would look good. But then, after the awareness of ocean plastic became more prevalent, we didn’t have to educate as much.
Business challenges and lessons learnt
How did it feel to see your creations in people’s homes for the first time?
It was as thrilling then as it is now. I am the strange person who stalks people in the high street if they are wearing one of our Weaver Green bags. I still find it is still amazing that when you make something and send it out into the world, people buy it. It is the most beautiful thing.
What challenges you have faced and what lessons did you learn?
Perseverance was the most important thing. We were told from the beginning that it wasn’t possible, but we were pioneers in using recycled materials to make our products. We knew at the start that we wanted to do it properly; to make things from recycled plastic that would be fully recyclable at the end of their lives. Adopting a mono-material policy, we only made things from PET and didn’t mix fibres, so all our products could be – and still are – be fully recyclable. Also, the closed water system was vital so we could handle some of the issues about microplastics and shedding.
What does the future hold for Weaver Green?
The main thing is educating people about our outdoor products. The hammocks, outdoor furniture and rugs allow our customers to use our products practically without worrying about having to bring them inside. We want to continue with more colour in our designs. We are all about supporting craft and artisans – especially the kilim as an art form because it is dying out; so many examples exist in our upcoming collections.