“Waste isn’t waste until we waste it” ~ WILL-I-AM
Happy world environment day! In the spirit of celebration, we would like to propose a toast, may we raise our bottle caps and soda cans to our local artist’s craftiness. They that collect what we have condemned to be trash and transform it into an exquisite piece of art. Where we bin and trash they pick and redeem, investing in an opportunity for profit by applying creativity as a means to add value they can sell for.
Upcycling can be defined as the Upcycling is not a novel concept as it has been in practise in Africa for quite some time. Whether it was the wire car with soda cans for wheels or the animals made of scrap metal sold by street corners or even the fashionable bottle caps that dangle from your aunt’s ears or your uncle’s keychain, upcycling has been around for quite some time. It is not just an expression of art and fashion but also stands as a contribution to the sustenance of the environment around us. Highlighted below are three key reasons upcycling is a concept we should embrace and support more in Zimbabwe:
Supports efforts toward recycling
Building a culture is more of a marathon than a race. This is no different for Zimbabwe where we are easing into a culture of recycling. One way through which upcycling aids the process is that it is something we are more familiar with and hence it is the perfect ice-breaker into fully embracing a culture of recycling.
Supporting local industry
According to a report by British Council published January 2020, the youth in Zimbabwe that are employed are 59% with 35% in the informal sector. A good number of local artists of the upcycled products fall in the category of those informally employed meaning by buying upcycled products in place of importing furniture you are not only creating job opportunities but you are investing back into your own economy all whilst reducing waste.
Means of Conservation
Instead of looking for new raw materials upcycling involves less investment as costs of production are cut, hence also resulting in a more affordable finished product. An example could be instead of throwing out old or damaged furniture to have it re-canned or upholstered, it saves wood and at the same time the cost for re-canning is likely significantly lower than that of buying new furniture