Confession: We don’t always love the look of recycled glassware; it can be clunky and too “craftsy”-looking (and too reminiscent of barely usable 1970s cutoff wine bottle glassware). So we were pleased to discover a set from West Elm that is as stylish as it is environmentally sound.
Founded in 1979 by Swedish Aid, Ngwenya Glass started as a good works enterprise. The Swedish team built the factory, imported the machinery and equipment, and trained Swazis in the ancient art of glassblowing. In 1985 the factory ceased operation, until a South Africa–based British family (Chas Prettejohn and his wife, Alix, and son, Richard) resurrected the business in 1987. Currently, Ngwenya Glass employs more than 60 glassblowers (including two of the founding glass blowers from the company’s early years). Only recycled glass is used, mostly discarded soda bottles, and the company works with schools to organize clean-up days in exchange for building materials and soccer kits. For more information, go to Ngwenya Glass.
Above: Ngwenya Glass’s Cape Recycled Glassware range is available at West Elm.
Above: A set of four Red Wine Glasses is $40 from West Elm.
Above: A set of four Champagne Glasses is $40.
Above: A set of four Coupe Glasses is $40 from West Elm.
Above: A set of four White Wine Glasses is $40 from West Elm.