Chinaware: The Sustainable Story

A selection of sweet tins on a dinner table with champagne and a cakeA selection of sweet tins on a dinner table with champagne and a cake

Royal Collection Trust shops are dedicated to improving our ongoing efforts to create a more sustainable collection of gifts that positively reduce the impact on our environment. For over thirty years, our loyal customers have been building their much-loved chinaware collections with magnificent pieces from our wonderful ranges. Discover how the marvellous production of these collections are aligned with our sustainable aims.

Royal Collection Shop Chinaware

At the Royal Collection Shop we are proud to work with traditional potteries based in Stoke-on-Trent, England - the original home of fine bone English chinaware production. We have successfully supported this incredible British industry for over 30 years and in doing so, the partnership also minimises the environmental impact through reduced transportation.

We are committed to continually improving our way of working to aid our sustainability efforts. Most recently, we have improved the design process to eliminate one of the firing rounds from the production cycle. The positive outcome of this decision reduces energy consumption and emissions by 25%. This improvement allows Royal Collection Shop to present the finest chinaware of the best value for our customers to cherish for a lifetime.

How Can Chinaware Production Be Sustainable?

Recycling Old Moulds

All chinaware moulds have an average lifespan of around 40 to 50 fills. After this average number of uses the inner surface deteriorates and has an adverse effect on the quality of the final product, encouraging potters to begin using a new mould. As the moulds are crafted from plaster of Paris, they can then become crushed and reconstituted into secondary building materials such as plaster boards and pressure cast tiles.

Recycling Spare Clay

Spare clay, otherwise known as clay offcuts, are recycled, reconstituted and re-filtered to be used another time. This can either be offcuts from the plasticine process or emptied slip from the casting process. 

Recycling Heat From The Kiln

Considerable work is currently underway to ensure the heat from the kilns can be recycled into heat for the buildings. The kiln heat will be captured (as otherwise it would be lost wasted) during the firing process. It will then be used to heat boilers which in turn, provides heat to the pottery via the existing central heating system. 

Recycling Glaze

Once the piece has been fired, it then goes through a process called glazing whereby the clay body of the item is sealed and becomes waterproof and ready for use. The unused or over sprayed glaze is captured, recycled, and filtered. It is returned to the machine to be succesfully used on future pieces of chinaware.

Recycling Gold

Many of our chinaware pieces are carefully finished with 22 carat gold. The magnificent gold which is not used can be recycled. The process of doing so is a complex one. Essentially, the remaining product is heated to an extremely high melting point. During this melting process, the component materials are separated. Eventually, the gold and other precious metals are retained, processed and then reconstituted to be used again to enhance other chinaware collections.

Crafting The Gift Box

Many pieces belonging to our chinaware ranges are perfectly presented in charming gift boxes. All of the boxes are hand crafted using recycled cardboard, in the United Kingdom. The boxes are then covered or wrapped in a dyed paper to create the finished elegant, gift box seen on our shelves. The covering paper is ethically sourced from either FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification) regulated suppliers. 

The Making Of Our Chinaware

Pour a cup of tea, settle in a cosy chair and take a moment to watch the impressive hard work and intricate methods to create such exquisite chinaware collections. This video introduces you to the world inside English fine bone potteries. From the very beginning when ideas are developed, to the several handmade processes in the pottery to the final touches of beautifully presenting the piece in its gift box, explore this traditional British industry.

Choosing The Perfect Sustainable Gift

It is time to select your favourite chinaware piece. From exquisite teapots to dainty teacup and saucers, choose your keepsake with its sustainable story.