Warehouse is an online department
store that is championing the environment and fighting climate change.
Their object is to be the next John Lewis, except that every
item at The
Recycle Warehouse is made
from recycled materials.
Warehouse was launched this
year by John Halladay.
‘By buying from us, you are relieving
pressure on the world’s diminishing resources. Our inventory includes
chairs made from recycled cardboard, shoes from recycled tyres and whole
dining services made from recycled glass and much more.’
Six months after its launch The Recycle Warehouse displays hundreds of items –
‘…about 400 at the moment, still
increasing, all of which are made predominantly or wholly from recycled
materials. We have a rule that the items must have at least 50% recycled
content but most are much higher.’
Although it is a distinction that John
doesn’t make on the website his goods fall into two categories. On
the one hand it is easy to see what some of his things originally were.
Take a footstool made from recycled tyres, the tread is clearly visible
around the edge. It’s funky and loud and a real conversation piece.
‘This is taking something which had
a defined use and subverting it into something that is functionally
completely different. On the other hand, some of our furniture or our
tableware bears no relationship to the original use to which its raw
material was put. People can make a statement – I’m a hardcore
environmentalist: look at my
wastebin, it’s made from crisp packets! But they can buy a bed
or dining table that’s made to their own design from reclaimed timber
by a professional craftsman, that doesn’t look any different to a
conventional, well-crafted piece.’
‘Our goal is to show that every day
goods can be made from recycled materials and that they are just as
good as new. As well as the quirky – bags made from chewing gum wrappers
or ringpulls, bowls made out of remoulded LP records – we have beautiful,
functional furniture that is handmade from reclaimed wood, including
oak and teak which you just can’t buy any more in a sustainable way;
designer clothes made from recycled fabrics, that can’t be bought
in any High Street shops.’
Many of the goods on sale through The Recycle Warehouse are made by charities.
‘Doy Bags are one of the best
known manufacturers in the recycling market. Made by a women’s collective
in The Philippines, their bags are colourful and exciting, woven from
reclaimed fruit juice packs. We supply garden furniture made by a charity
in Oxford that employs people with learning disabilities, and we support
other charities in various parts of the world.’
It’s a quirky site that makes its environmental
message clear on every page and it isn’t above being dogmatic about
climate change. This isn’t just about profit.
Recycle Warehouse they have
- sustainability comes first,
profit comes second;
- business has to lead the way
in the war against climate change;
- recycling is an alternative
to the exploitation of the world’s finite resources
- this isn’t commerce, this
is a Crusade.
John Halladay is a Board Member of Friends
of the Earth and a local Greenpeace activist.