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16 April 2019

Don’t See Waste, See food for Creativity

The impact of waste on the environment and on our health cannot be ignored any longer. With this growing sense of realisation, initiatives and movements are appearing across the world, offering tools and solutions to limit our carbon footprint.

One of them is The Upcycle, an Amsterdam based store focusing on transforming waste into new designer products. Back in March, Kreamondo spoke with them to better understand their vision and mission.

© The Upcycle

Where did the idea for The Upcycle come from ?

“We started by recycling bikes as a school project. In Amsterdam, bikes that are parked in wrong places get cut away by the city. If you don’t pick it up within a few months, the city sells them to companies that recycle them. Even though we recycle bikes, we still create a lot of waste such as the old bike’s tires and inner tubes. We decided to find solutions for our own bike waste-streams. This is how The Upcycle became a design studio for waste-stream solutions. Now we work with bike waste, plastic waste, commercial banners and much more !

© The Upcycle

Could you present each Team Member in a few lines ?

First we have Lodewijk, the creator for many of our products and the guardian of our upcycling values and guidelines. He is the founder and designer. Then we have Hidde who inspires the team and works to find long term visions for The Upcycle. He is also the founder but also the builder and strategist. We have Tim who’s in charge of operations. He focuses on keeping the store running and he is always open/looking for new people and companies to join the movement. Finally, we have Luna, our designer who works on new products and is a big source of happiness and good vibes at The Upcycle.

© The Upcycle

What is a typical day/week at “The Upcycle” (if there are any) ?

Everyday is different because we’re always looking for new projects/products to make. We’re always telling our story and the necessity of upcycling in our store to visitors. We are located in the city centre of Amsterdam so our customers are mostly tourists. In the store, we create a lot of our products on the spot.

© The Upcycle

What is the design and crafting process behind each item ? How do you go from a bicycle tyre to a unique belt or decorative object ?

We look at waste in a different way. As our slogan goes “Don’t See Waste, See food for Creativity!“. This means we first look at the material we have and then try to look for products we could make with it. This includes a lot of experimenting and playing around with the material before focusing on designing a product. When we know the capabilities and restrictions of a material, we design products that can be made out of it. We always keep in mind that a product should be able to be taken apart again, so no glue ! In the shop we have direct feedback from our customers so that we can make quick alterations. In the end, we try to optimise the production process to a point where we can produce at a reasonable price !

What changes are you hoping “The Upcycle” can bring to Amsterdam and other cities ?

We’re here to inspire people and to show that waste is just a word without meaning if you look at it in a different way. With this mindset, we hope to change the world and the impact of mass consumerism.

What would you say to someone who wishes to promote and champion upcycling/recycling movements but doesn’t know how ?

Start with separating your trash. If you already do this then see if you can find “trash” that you can actually reuse, such as using your empty jam pots for tea glasses or turning your old bike tire into a belt! We’re working on a platform where we share our knowledge so everybody can turn their trash into trashure.”

© The Upcycle

 

” What is waste? At The Upcycle we believe it’s a recourse in the wrong place. That’s why we transform these resources into new designer products. Take one of our products home and join the circular economy – Don’t See Waste, See food for Creativity! “

You can find Luna, Lodewijk, Tim, Hidde and all of their products at their Amsterdam store The Upcycle and on their website.

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