Wales

Green businesses taking a foothold in Wales

As the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales calls on the Welsh Government to create an advice line for environmental issues, we look at four small companies paving the way for green businesses in Wales in 2020.

Image copyright Maykher
Image caption Heidi Griffiths, founder of Maykher, with one of her artisan makers in Guatemala

Based in Cardiff, online company Maykher sells homeware and accessories in partnership with artisan groups from across the developing world.

Environmental practices are at the forefront of the business.

Packaging is plastic free, while the cotton in its supply chains is mostly organic and the leather it uses would otherwise go to waste.

In the Cardiff office, staff use only reusable drinks bottles, while some of the company's profits are reinvested into providing education for girls.

Founder Heidi Griffiths said: "I used to work in the mainstream fashion industry and began to understand how terrible it is on the environment.

"I wanted to lead the way with something different - a company that pays fair wages with ethical working conditions and good environmental practices.

"Over the past 18 months, I have noticed people making much more mindful choices in what they buy.

"More green companies are popping up and there seems to be a wider movement to make fashion and homeware greener.

"Our whole ethos is to encourage people to think twice about fast fashion, which is a huge part of the single-use culture that is damaging the environment.

"People need to buy less and buy better."

Image copyright Myddfai
Image caption Two of the workers at Myddfai, which is swapping plastic bottles for glass

In Llangadog, Carmarthenshire, the Myddfai Trading Company has recently begun transforming its green credentials.

The social enterprise specialises in luxury toiletries.

In order to reduce its impact on the environment, it has started changing its packaging from single-use plastic bottles to glass.

In other areas, it has switched from plastic to cardboard.

Sales manager David Long said: "We began doing this as we are a socially responsible organisation and need to do our bit for the environment.

"Changing the packaging hasn't proved too difficult. The glass bottles are a bit more expensive but we feel they are worth it and so do the customers.

"We are all increasingly aware of the need to reduce our impact on the environment."

Image copyright Frugalpac
Image caption Frugalpac chief executive Malcolm Waugh says the cups are the next best option after a cup for life

Based in Wrexham, Frugalpac is a company seeking to revolutionise the take-away coffee cup.

Currently, most disposable cups cannot be recycled in mainstream systems and instead end up in landfill.

This is because they are chemically treated to prevent them from disintegrating in water, which is the process used during recycling.

In contrast, Frugal Cups are engineered to disintegrate in water but have a liner which means they don't do this while being used for drinking.

The company - which has been based in Wales for a year - is now supplying independent coffee shops and some universities.

Chief executive Malcolm Waugh said: "In an idea world, people would just use a cup for life.

"But not everyone does this, so this is the next best thing.

"We estimate that our product produces roughly 38% of the carbon footprint of a normal coffee cup.

"We also use recycled paper to make our cups, so this is also good for the environment."

Mr Waugh added that Wales was a good place for green business.

"Wrexham, in particular, is good for paper packaging," he said.

"But we have also had strong support from the Welsh Assembly, and applaud the new circular economy strategy and its green agenda for sustainability."

Image copyright Econpro
Image caption Not the most obvious green business, but sustainable drainage produces significantly less carbon than traditional products made from cement

Another innovative green product coming out of Wales is DuraKerb.

Based in Deeside, Flintshire, the company makes a range of sustainable drainage products to help surface water management.

These include specially-adapted kerbs and drainage systems made from recycled plastic products.

Not only does this make them lighter to build and install, it also produces less carbon.

Managing director Phil Sutton said: "Wales is quite favourable to the environmental sector, and I do feel the industry is coming of age.

"The turn of this decade is a step-change for the environment and climate change."

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