Make your festive tableware part of the circular economy with the help of Cornish brand LIGA, which uses recycled and sustainable materials like cork to produce a stylish range of products - including some which reflect a classic design from the 1970s.

When you pop a cork this Christmas, spare a thought for where it came from – and where it might go when your bottle is empty. Consider taking it to your nearest LIGA Cork Recycling Partner, so it can be incorporated into the Cornish company’s range of cork homewares, including placemats and trays. For every 100kg collected, LIGA will plant one cork oak tree - a powerful weapon against climate change and an emblem of biodiversity preservation.

It means your festive tableware could be circular in more ways than one. It’s all part of an ongoing quest to inject sustainability into the home, one coaster at a time. It’s also the latest unexpected twist in a journey that has taken company owner Jennie Elderkin from physical shop to designer and online trader in barely more than a decade.

Great British Life: LIGA's eco homewares use hand-harvested cork from PortugalLIGA's eco homewares use hand-harvested cork from Portugal

The business launched in 2011, under the name of Clementine. ‘I’d been doing interior design for second homes in Fowey,’ Jennie recalls, ‘and I did up a building with spare shop space. I opened my first shop, selling vintage products sourced from Bob, a Hollywood set designer with shipping containers full of antiques.’

Those were eclectic beginnings. ‘That first summer, I didn’t even buy a till,’ she laughs. It went so well, a second shop opened in Truro. Stock was driven by customer feedback until in 2015, Jennie decided to create her own brand.

‘I couldn’t find what I was looking for on the market,’ she says. ‘I was going to trade shows to do my buying, and it just wasn’t there, so I started to hone my thoughts. I’d been marketing products I’d created as ‘Clemmie originals’, but I was starting to sense that they were really something else.’

Great British Life: Part of the seasonal collectionPart of the seasonal collection

At the same time, Jennie was becoming increasingly aware of waste. ‘There was a culture in buying for the sake of buying. Everything was so cheap; you didn’t need to think about it. I really wanted products that were every day, affordable, simple designs, sustainable – and made to last.

‘At that time, being eco was still quite niche. I wanted to make it mainstream because it needed everyone to be on board. Looking back, it seems ahead of the curve. Everyone has moved so far ahead now, and that’s great – it’s what we wanted.’

Business grew exponentially, eventually outgrowing the Truro shop and the Clementine brand. A new name was needed. ‘There’s an old saying: Tell them what you do,’ says Jennie. ‘The name LIGA connected with me: Lifestyle, Interiors, Gifts and Art.’

Great British Life: Jennie launched LIGA in 2018Jennie launched LIGA in 2018

Designed in Cornwall, LIGA’s eco homewares use sustainable and waste products wherever possible, including hand-harvested cork from Portugal and plastic beach-clean materials. Look out for the seasonal collection – corkware festooned with stars, trees and pinecones, and Christmas-tree centrepieces in recycled plastic.

LIGA launched in 2018, and now has just under 1,000 stockists around the world, including the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Europe and the Nordic countries. Meanwhile, the pandemic opened up an online market, meaning Jennie can also sell direct.

But LIGA’s heart and home remains in Cornwall. The Fowey shop has been rebranded as LIGA Eco Store, featuring over 20 eco guest brands from around the UK. ‘It’s good to still have a bricks and mortar site in Fowey - it’s an important part of the mix to get customer feedback,’ says Jennie.

Great British Life: Products use sustainable and recycled materialsProducts use sustainable and recycled materials

And at the lively headquarters near Truro, a team of staff beaver away - including Jennie’s husband, David, and son Jamie, both of whom have joined the company.

In an exciting development, Jennie was approached in January 2023 with a view to creating a new collection based on the instantly recognisable patterns of Hornsea Pottery, which featured in many a fashionable kitchen during the mid-twentieth century.

The East Yorkshire pottery was founded in 1949 by brothers Colin and Desmond Rawson to produce seaside souvenirs, and quickly grew to become the largest studio pottery in the world, employing over 700 people at its peak in the 1970s. The pottery closed its doors in 2000, and the brand and intellectual property rights are now owned by Patrick Smith, who hails from Bridlington but lives in stylish New York City.

‘Patrick is passionate about Hornsea,’ says Jennie. ‘He came across our products and suggested the collaboration, thinking it would be nice for Hornsea to have a sustainable connection. It has been such a joy to delve into the history to discover so many wonderful designs.

Great British Life: LIGA's collaboration with the iconic 70s brand HornseaLIGA's collaboration with the iconic 70s brand Hornsea

‘Growing up in the 1970s, I remember the wonderful Saffron pattern in our home – the brown teapot, tea, coffee and sugar containers. It was simple and comforting, and it summed up British design for me at that time.

‘Those who remember the Hornsea designs are noticeably moved when they see them again - they bring back warm memories. When we launched our first pieces, I saw people with tears in their eyes, remembering the pots in their nanna’s cupboard.’

Falmouth designer Elly Jahnz, a long-time LIGA collaborator who has worked extensively with Seasalt, was given access to the original Pantone colours to achieve an authentic reproduction of eight original Hornsea designs including Saffron, Happy Cat Sad Cat and Peacock. These now feature on placemats, coasters and a wipe-clean drinks tray, all in organic cork, as well as 100% compostable dishcloths.

It was the perfect collaboration. ‘Hornsea was started on a kitchen table by people who wanted to make useful, affordable products,’ says Jennie. ‘That resonates with LIGA. That’s how we started and what we do, just using sustainable materials. And, like Hornsea, we want to make things to be used, not just sit in a cupboard.’

Pay a visit

LIGA Eco Store, Trafalgar House, Trafalgar Square, Fowey PL23 1AZ.

Open daily: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm; Sunday, 11am to 4pm.

Tel 01726 458281,

LIGA’s cork recycling locations include its headquarters in Tresillian, Old Chapel Cellars in Truro, Kernowine in Falmouth, and LIGA Eco Store in Fowey. Alternatively, if your business discards cork wine stoppers regularly, in touch with LIGA direct via