Surrey Countryside Champions – Nature Reclaimed
Nature Reclaimed is the brainchild of Katy Markwardt, creating truly sustainable, handcrafted gifts that are eco-friendly and covetable too. Katy gives glass bottles a new lease of life, turning them into candles, vases and even beautiful and unique lamps. Inspired by a love of her local countryside and wanting to protect it from the increase in littering that occurred during lockdown, Nature Reclaimed has gone from strength to strength, expanding their range and working with other local businesses.
We spoke to Katy about how she ensures her business remains as sustainable as possible and what’s next for Nature Reclaimed.
1. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Please can you tell us who you are and what you do?
I’m Katy Markwardt and during Lockdown I founded Nature Reclaimed from my family home in Reigate, where I make handcrafted sustainable gifts and homeware from upcycled bottles. Products range from upcycled bottle lamps and vases to candles made using 100% plant wax, pure essential oils and crackling wood or cotton wicks to keep our products as close to nature as possible. Prior to Lockdown I had a career in PR and Communications, promoting a range of brands and now I run the business alongside a Communications role in the NHS. I’m also a mum of two young boys and one crazy pup, so life is busy!
2. How did Nature Reclaimed come about?
Nature Reclaimed, came about in response to the increase in litter during lockdown. My husband began ‘plogging’ (a Swedish concept, combining picking litter and jogging) glass bottles and we soon began thinking about how we could give them a second life. I began making scented candles hand poured into upcycled glass bottles, each one cut by hand, by us and over time the product range has expanded to include more products, upcycled from empty bottles to give them a second life.
3. How does your shop support the local environment?
The business began with litter picking in our local park, collecting bottles and turning them into something new, and it’s been incredible to turn that love of our local greenspaces into a business. We continue to litter-pick locally and create visual content on social media, which we hope inspires others to do the same.
4. Sustainability is clearly important to your business. What do you do to make sure your shop is as sustainable as possible?
Since the business began, I have focused on supporting the local area and am proud to now be stocked in two shops locally, both of which are Reigate, family-run, independent businesses. We encourage local sales and collections of bottles, to minimise our carbon footprint, and currently work with two local drinks businesses – Crumbs Brewing and Hurt Liqueur – upcycling their empty bottles. We try to keep every step of the process as sustainable as possible; we have installed solar panels that power both our home and the business, including our new electronic van that we use for deliveries, which we were able to purchase with the help of LOCASE (Low Carbon Across the South and East) funding.
5. Repurposing used bottles into something beautiful is such a wonderful idea. What’s next for Nature Reclaimed?
At the end of last year we ran a pilot event, the Reigate Sustainability Market, which has been really well received, so we’re delighted to be bringing it back as a monthly market throughout 2023. The market is all about showcasing businesses with sustainability at their heart. We are also excited to be planning a series of upcycled-bottle candle making workshops that we will be launching later in the year.
6. How can people and Surrey residents support the work you do?
Lots of ways! You can follow us on social media for ideas about how to upcycle, drop off bottles with us so that we can give them a second life, or join us at one of the Reigate Sustainability Markets taking place on the second Saturday of each month on Reigate High Street, to support the best of local sustainable businesses.
7. Your team does amazing work. When you take a break what’s your favourite Surrey greenspace to explore?
It’s tough to pick just one! But we are incredibly lucky to have Priory Park in Reigate right on our doorstep. The view of Reigate Hill from the ridge at the top, or as you come down the hill, is stunning, and constantly changing, it never gets old! We’ve enjoyed so many walks and runs in the park, that helping keep it clean and safe feels like a small way that we can show our appreciation for this beautiful greenspace.
Get in touch or follow and support Nature Reclaimed:
Email – email@example.com
Website – www.nature-reclaimed.shop
Facebook and Instagram – @naturereclaimedshop