As I stare out of the window at Shakspeare Towers, the Levels are flooded and they’re talking about COP26 on the radio.
Glassblowing might not seem like the most environmentally friendly industry, but Will is acutely aware of his impact and how he can mitigate the impact of his craft.
For starters, the new furnace is far more energy efficient, it’s highly recuperated with insulating blanket inside, to keep heat from escaping.
A glory hole train – an intricate web of metal pipes - gives effective control of the gas – with a “high fire” and “low fire” setting, and any clear glass that’s left on the blowing irons is recycled and goes back into the furnace. Any coloured glass is recycled to make beautiful giant dishes – a great way to use up the leftovers.
The furnace door is kept shut unless needed, so every effort is made to hold on to energy.
Let’s not also forget that once the glass pieces are made, they’re not throwaway items like plastic cups or a frivolous gift. Will’s work has both practical and aesthetic qualities and will last well beyond a lifetime.
Will’s also started cycling to work – he says this is an effort to lose weight but of course it’s also good for the environment too!
Planting trees is a big tick in the sustainability box and something Will’s very keen on doing.
Trees feature heavily in his glass collections but also planting them means he’s doing his bit to negate CO2 emissions. Planting willows along the bank of the River Parrett, next to the Shakspeare Glass workshop, not only looks lovely, but acts as protection for the river bank and offers a haven for wildlife.
We know that burning fuel is not eco-friendly, but as individuals the Shakspeare team does all it can to offset carbon emissions.
The heat from the furnace helps to keep the whole of the Shakspeare Glass building warmer, which in turn means that the other tenants don’t need to heat their rooms as much.
All in all Will and Johnny are conscientious when it comes to their impact on the planet.
If we all do a little bit, then we can all help the planet – and reusing, recycling and buying things that last is an important part of that.
Just to add a bit of kudos to the environmental credentials of SG - Johnny’s daughter Libby is even talking at COP26 in Glasgow. We are being green by association!