Chrisie Roger, Wairm
It was in the last days of winter that Chrisie had her ‘Aha moment’. “I was about to throw away an old hot water bottle," she says. "It was PVC with an acrylic cover and I knew it was just going to end up in landfill. I thought, there must be something I can do to change this, to make the cover biodegradable and a bottle from rubber that can be recycled.”
The idea came out of Chrisie's 20 years working as a designer in the fashion industry. She worked in New York, Beijing and London and over the years she's seen blended yarns becoming increasingly popular. This, she says, is a problem. "It makes the garment impossible to recycle at end-of-life. Even many high-end garments which are seemingly natural fibres, have polyester labels or threads, making them extremely hard to separate and recycle. I wanted to make products that were 100% natural and capable of biodegrading or being recycled."
The rubber for the bottles is certified by the Fair Rubber Association, and making the covers in Scotland is key to Chrisie, no matter how much more it costs. Her husband is from the Borders town of Langholm, once a thriving mill town and she explains: “We do a walk past the old mills which are all either derelict or one has become a supermarket. But we still have a generation of people who worked in the mills who can pass on that knowledge. If we leave it any longer, we’ll lose it.”