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  • Writer's pictureLinda Andrews - Editorial Assistant, Nuse Online

Northern Irish Company Bringing The Wombles Back To Life

Northern Ireland company, Environmental Street Furniture (ESF) is bringing some of the UK’s most cherished TV characters, The Wombles, back to life through the launch of its latest innovative product range, which builds on the programme’s theme of boosting the idea of recycling and raising awareness of environmental issues.

The Wombles Collection by ESF, which consists of themed bins, benches, picnic tables, planters, and activity games tables, was launched today (13th September) at the Resource and Waste Management (RWM) expo at Birmingham’s NEC – one of the UK’s leading events for promoting innovative solutions that address the world’s environmental challenges - reigniting nostalgia for many of those in attendance.

First aired in 1973, The Wombles tells the story of a secretive group of creatures who live beneath Wimbledon Common. The original environmental champions, their adventures involved recycling and reusing the discarded things left behind by humans on the Common, and the show went on to become one of the most popular children’s programmes of all time.

The characters were brought out of hibernation in 2020 and have since inspired a new generation with their sustainability and positive environmental messages, encouraging them to think about the impact littering has on their own environment. The Wombles believe that no action is too small to make the world a better place, which will be further enhanced by ESF’s latest collection.

Managing Director of ESF, Alan Lowry spoke about the collection, saying,

“Getting the opportunity to launch The Wombles Collection by ESF to a global audience as the show celebrates its 50th anniversary, is a very proud moment for our company. The Wombles were a staple part of my own childhood and I know that through the launch of this collection, many other people will be transported back to their early days.

“Aside from the nostalgic aspect of the collection, primarily we want to continue to promote the message that the show is renowned for – encouraging recycling, reducing waste, upcycling items, and making good use of bad rubbish.

“Now more so than ever when the green and circular economies are to the fore, it’s important that we maximise the opportunities for people to recycle and reduce littering, contributing to a low carbon economy. We’re confident that through The Wombles Collection by ESF, this can be achieved. The collection is ideal for locations including public parks or spaces, educational facilities, zoos, and theme parks, as well as for businesses or organisations that are investing in their ESG. I’ve no doubt the products will be extremely well received.”

The Wombles Collection by ESF includes ‘The Tobermory Smart Bin’, a fully solar powered bin, equipped with an automatic compactor that reduces street litter collections by up to 90%; ‘The Wellington Solar Bench’, a solar powered bench offering wireless and wired phone chargers, and automatic LED lighting strips; and ‘The Orinoco Activity Picnic Table’, a customisable, wheelchair accessible picnic table with activities including Wombles Ladders or Wimbledon Common Maze.

All the themed recycled products in the collection have been manufactured using Plaswood, a Berry Global Product, which is a long-established market leader in recycled plastic profiles and applications. Recycled post-consumer waste, the material is also recyclable if returned to the company’s recycling plant in Scotland.

ESF is a member of Made in Britain, the trade association that brings together more than 2,000 British Manufacturers across the four nations of the UK, by their licenced use of the official Made in Britain collective mark.

Speaking about ESF’s latest collection, Made in Britain CEO, John Pearce, said, “This collection combines British manufacturing innovation with the communication of vital messages around circularity, which have the potential to educate and empower young minds by way of the beloved Wombles. Congratulations to ESF on this launch, which epitomises the quality, creativity and commitment to sustainability that are the hallmarks of the very best of the UK manufacturing sector."

Passionate about sustainability and tackling issues that impact the environment, ESF has also announced its recent affiliation with Leave No Trace Ireland, Ireland’s only Outdoor Ethics Education organisation. This partnership marks the beginning of a collaborative journey in the environmental sector, aimed at fostering responsible outdoor recreation through a series of actions and initiatives.

Commenting on the membership, Maura Kiely, CEO of Leave No Trace Ireland said it was an exciting development for Leave No Trace Ireland. The partnership embeds the organisation’s ethos of sustainability into street furniture and bin facilities that will be used by outdoor recreationists.

Ms Kiely said, “We are delighted to welcome Environmental Street Furniture as a member of Leave No Trace Ireland. The Wombles Collection encapsulates our shared vision with ESF, to protect the environment for future generations. Through our membership programme, we look forward to working with ESF to promote the responsible enjoyment of outdoor spaces.”

Environmental Street Furniture is a global designer and supplier of street furniture and site furnishing products, which currently exports to over 27 countries worldwide. The Newtownabbey based company delivers exceptional products that integrate technology, innovation and modern, sustainable materials to customers, which includes many of the world’s leading theme parks.


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