Empty bottles left strewn on beaches and in streets are an all-too-common sight. But a Chichester-based business is taking these waste products and turning them into fantastic glassware.
Smooth Edge sells upcycled glasses from gin, vodka and rum bottles, and also stocks a range of recycled jewellery and clothing made using post-consumer waste.
So what is SmoothEdge? How did you get started?
"SmoothEdge is an eco-friendly, sustainable brand and stems from our love for adventure - surfing, skiing, climbing and continuous discovering. Our aim is to inspire people to be more sustainably aware to reduce the impact of waste on the planet - this is why upcycling is important to us.
"We do this by upcycling items into everyday use items and sell clothing made from waste materials.
Justin and Leah first tried out methods of cutting bottles in 2016, without much success. However, through research and experimentation, they managed to improve our method and began experimenting with different bottles.
In 2019, Sam and Leah created SmoothEdge and began selling on Etsy to help save some money for travelling and watersports hobbies.
"Once we came back from our travels in 2020, we were able to spend more time developing our technique and our brand."
Sam is currently working full-time on SmoothEdge, Leah is currently studying at University, and Justin is a Director and Co-founder of a small environmental consultancy.
How Much Do You Enjoy Working With the Glass That You Find?
"Taking waste products and upcycling them into something which is reusable and robust is extremely enjoyable, but its seeing the end products which is the most satisfying part - knowing that we’ve stopped this potential waste material ending up in a landfill forever (glass does not decompose, it will stay there forever and only 50% of the UK’s glass bottles and jars are actually recycled which is pretty bad)."
So how does your clothing reflect your message of 'waste less, upcycle more'?
"The clothing we sell made from plastic bottles and recycled organic cotton is something new, we wanted to show further what can be done using waste products - this is our salvage range. We also have a reworked range, this is taking preloved clothes from charity shops and 2nd hand shop, reworking/repairing them where needed and reselling them. This is the most eco-friendly type of fashion, as we are not adding to the worlds huge clothing population nor are we relying on resources to produce the clothing."
What Can We Expect From SmoothEdge in the Future?
"Our ultimate goal with SmoothEdge is to expand our reach. We currently have a small “credit system” whereby if people give us their empty bottles, we will in exchange provide them with free credits / a voucher to use on our website - having a bigger reach for this would be great but not only for bottles. We aim to expand this further with more materials. Expanding our credit system and have more materials to work with will expand our range of products."
Inspired to make something yourself using scraps or waste materials? Try one of our Slow Stitching Kits.
Photographs courtesy of SmoothEdge.co.uk