Set in the heart of a rural village in Mid Wales, Mid Radnor is home to Ten Green Bottles, a social enterprise that recycles glass and provides marginalised groups with work and volunteering opportunities.
Founded in 2007 by Lorainne Powers, Ten Green Bottles aims to be a sustainable business that creates beautiful glass items, while impacting positively on the environment through the diversion of glass from landfill. It also improves local job prospects for people often excluded from the workplace, for example, people with mental health issues, learning difficulties or the long term unemployed.
With a product range spanning jewellery to tableware, Ten Green Bottles sells its goods via its website and gallery shop, and to individual customers and trade buyers. All profits are reinvested back into the business so that it can continue its research into innovative ways of using local waste glass.
Most recently Ten Green Bottles has developed a packing solution which has seen it develop its own textile unit – Ten Green Bags – which now designs, and manufactures bags handcrafted from 100% recycled material.
It is also working with six PhD students from Aberystwyth University on a three-year project to test the properties of glass, to design and manufacture an artistic product to be used in conservatories to absorb heat and use the energy to heat water.
Lorainne Powers, managing director of the CIC, says: “We have high graduate unemployment rates in the area so this project will give students much needed experience in designing and manufacturing a product and to bring it to market and make it a reality.”
Sales have grown each year and, during its first three years of trading, Ten Green Bottles has recruited more than 900 volunteers participating in a series of workshops. Powers says: “We had a great cohort of Future Jobs Fund employees, about 80 per cent of whom have moved on into employment as a result of their time with us.”
Extolling the virtues of being a CIC, Powers says: “The CIC structure is a fantastic alternative for us. We are a business with social aims. I was clear from the outset that I did not want us to be a charity. We are clearly for profit but happy to have an asset lock that ploughs our profit back into the local community. It’s the old fashioned way of doing business.”
What does the future hold for Ten Green Bottles? “The research and development part of the business will give us the edge,” says Powers. “We are seriously competing in the marketplace and we’re at the heart of fair trade.
Products are made in Wales by recycled goods from the local area, by local people who have often been brushed aside. We believe we’re a good template for other businesses.”
||Ten Green Bottles Powys
||New Radnor, Powys, Wales
||CIC limited by guarantee
|Community interest statement
||Aims to become a template for sustainable enterprise that provides work for all, develops a range of ethical products from recycled resources and educates by example.
Find out more about Ten Green Bottles Powys