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The distinctive style and sustainable design of recycled glass from Swaziland

February 16, 2018

Fruit bowl

At Artisan Lifestyle we value working with individual artisans and artisan companies who are passionate about creative design and the use of environmentally sensitive resources.   Our quest is to seek the best home décor designs created using sustainable materials.  We look for raw, recycled and reclaimed creations which will no doubt add exclusive character and a unique story to your home. 

One of our valued partners is Ngwenya Glass, an artisan company consisting of a team of highly talented and creative local glass blowers.  Their continual product development follows the latest global trends whilst consistently reflecting superior quality, a distinctive style, environmental appreciation and a positive social impact.

Recycling at Ngwenya Glass forms the foundation of this successful business.  All glass designs are made using 100% recycled glass from waste bottles and jars.  Disused engine oil is used to fuel the large furnaces operated in the glass blowing process.  And it is yesterday’s local newspaper which shapes and protects all packaged glassware orders.  Ngwenya Glass is an inspiring example of how a commitment to sustainable business practises can be a hugely successful path to both business success and the empowerment of the local people.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

JugsMost of the recycled glass used in the Ngwenya Glass manufacturing process is from discarded soft drink bottles gathered from all over the Kingdom of Swaziland.  In addition to encouraging the people of Swaziland to collect glass bottles, Ngwenya Glass also chooses to work with the local schools and educate them on the benefits of recycling.  This mentorship is meant to instil a sense of individual purpose and environmental awareness in the local community children.  The recycling program offers schools building materials, and the sponsorship of the local soccer team, in exchange for the scholars participating in glass clean-up campaigns.  A win-win situation for all involved!  All other people from Swaziland who collect bottles and jars on behalf of Ngwenya Glass, are paid per kilo for clean glass.

Swaying whiskey glassThe benefits of recycling are invaluable in our compromised global environments.  At Artisan Lifestyle we value genuine care taken by skilled artisans in creating their craft.  We admire the art and soul that artisans use in their trade, and we are inspired by those artisans that endeavour to take their craft one step further by caring for their environments.        
Sustainability and recycling go hand in hand, where the objective of sustainability is to take advantage of renewable resources, whilst using less energy.  A benefit of recycling is essentially preserving our irreplaceable raw materials.  The use of recycled materials in the manufacturing process will also result in much less energy than that required for producing new products from raw materials. Recycling reduces the need for extracting (mining, quarrying and logging), refining and processing raw materials all of which create substantial air and water pollution. As recycling saves energy it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn helps to tackle climate change. Furthermore, recycling protects natural habitats, a factor critical for future preservation of our global environment.  Recycling additionally reduces landfill mass.
Going beyond recycling, Ngwenya Glass, further contribute to the local Swaziland conservation environment.  The Ngwenya Glass factory was re-established and opened in 1987, and in 1989 the company launched Swaziland’s most successful wildlife conservation fund. The fund is known as the Ngwenya Glass Rhino and Elephant Fund, and is a tribute to the handmade and mouth-blown glass rhino and elephant ornaments made Ngwenya Glass artisans.  A percentage of their global sales go directly to Mkhaya Game Reserve, a refuge for endangered species in the Swaziland low veld.  
We are truly proud to partner with Ngwenya Glass not only because of their exquisite glass ware collections but also because of their inherent desire to preserve our environment through their community recycling programs and wildlife conservation fund.  We look forward to developing our own Artisan Lifestyle custom made recycled glass products, as we grow our own product lines.  Watch this space! 
Wine cooler and crooked stem wine glassesGlass blowing is an ancient art, and the fascinating process of converting recycled glass into beautiful items of glassware for the home, can be viewed at the Ngwenya Glass Factory from a platform poised above the talented glass blowers.  This gives you a fabulous bird’s eye view of wonderful art in motion.  Ngwenya Glass now employs 70 local workers, including 2 of the original glass blowers from 1979. 
Ngwenya Glass is a founding member of the Swaziland Fair Trade organisation.             and Lifestyle




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