Problem: The excessive waste created from Plastic bags is hazardous, since they take from 500-1000 years to biodegrade. Even though there are alternative solutions, but plastic bags are the hardest to recycle, plus the core of the problem comes from the consumer who needs to be aware of the harmful effects.
Solution: To produce fashionable bags and other accessory products from upcycled plastic bags and sustainably sourced materials.
Implementation: In 2013, the idea started as a final semester university project for Rania Rafie and Yara Yassien, the solution’s founders. Initially, they used to do the upcycling process themselves and arrange with workshops to sew the bags and finalize them. Afterword’s, they partnered with “Roh El Shabab”, which is a community development NGO, training youth women from the Zabaleen community (garbage collectors) in the upcycling process. In 2015, the founder established the Up-Fuse a social enterprise.
- Women from Roh El Shabab buy the used plastic bags from the Garbage city, Manshyet Naser.
- The plastic bags go through a cleaning and sanitizing process.
- Then, they are compressed and turned into a new material – Sabi” – which is taken from Roh El Shabab.
- After that the bags are taken to Up-Fuse’s workshop to cut and sew.
- The bags do not dye to avoid dyes’ harmful environmental impact, that is why each bag produced is only made one of a kind.
Each Up-Fuse tote bag is made using 30 plastic bags. Up-Fuse also creates wallets, laptop cases and camera straps using the trash.
The solution provides income to 5 underprivileged families and encouraging local artisans and designers to work with eco-friendly materials. All materials used is either environmentally friendly, organically made, or locally produced. Up-fuse is also keen to spread awareness through its products about plastic bags overconsumption, providing consumers with alternative solutions of eco-friendly products.
Achievements: Up until now, the solution has recycled 50000 plastic bags. In 2017, won the WeMena Competition. It is a business competition that is designed to engage female entrepreneurs in the MENA region and encourage their participation in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Partners: “Roh El Shabab” a community development NGO in Manshyet Naser.
website : www.up-fuse.com