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Trash couture is no pipedream

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The 30-year-old eco-entrepreneur took the idea and turned it into a business.

Wesling set up Bournemouth-based Eako in July this year, following a chance meeting with a member of the London Fire Brigade. “He told me that a tonne of hosing goes to landfill every two months.

“So I took a piece and scrubbed away all the soot, grease and everything else that builds up after 25 years of active duty. In the process, I discovered a remarkable, beautiful textile.”

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Working with local designers, Wesling started making bespoke belts out of the hosing. A merchandising group caught wind of what Eako were doing and ordered a batch of 500 belts to sell at the Live Earth concert – which was just three weeks away. The gig-goers loved them. Eako sold the lot.

Now she’s extending the range to include bags, briefcases, even garden furniture. Turnover should hit £100,000 this year, and 50 per cent of the profits go to London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) charities.

But hose pipes are just the start. “The aim is to use materials reclaimed from industrial waste streams across the whole country and turn them into lifestyle products,” says Canada-born Wesling, who recently picked up the gong for Entrepreneurial Woman of the Future.  “I want to be the trash queen of Britain!”

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