Entrepreneurial Companies Making #Upcycling their Model for #Sustainable #Fashion!


Berkshire Bohemian

Berkshire Bohemian | Photo: Jan Gerards

  1. It’s sustainable. Upcycling reduces clothing and textile waste by reusing deadstock or gently used fabric to create new garments and products. Making a single cotton T-shirt requires over 700 gallons of water, whereas using a pre-existing T-shirt to make something new requires nearly no water. In addition, upcycling can divert some of the 85% of textile waste that ends up in landfills.
  2. It’s cost-effective. Similar to reducing waste, upcycling can be less expensive since used or pre-existing materials are typically a fraction of the cost of newly-made materials and textiles.
  3. It’s creative. Upcycling requires creativity to envision the potential of existing materials to create something new and beautiful.


One of the new companies exploring using #waste as a resource is Berkshire Bohemian.  They make bags that are stylish and upcycled!

Berkshire Bohemian bag

Berkshire Bohemian bag

There are more new fashion upcyclers that consider “trash” as fodder for a better product.  These #entrepreneurs are creating a more sustainable future.  This is evidenced in the move toward #slowfashion and an awareness of the garment industry’s harmful supply chain. Erika Brown (from Berkshire Bohemian) envisions a future where consumerism doesn’t “cost the earth” — meaning that economic gain doesn’t necessarily mean environmental loss.

Creating items for #consumption needn’t be a zero sum game!  We can work with what we have—creating desirable items from #castoff unconventional materials.  We need to know how our garments and home goods are made. Upcycling is a #winwinwin for all.

More about entrepreneurial upcycling companies: Why are fashion companies embracing upcycling? [Danielle Sabrina @DanielleScorp via #HuffPost]

#FastFashion #fickleness fuels recycling network

From #WSJ:

Fast Fashion Recycling Network

Fast Fashion deluge—is it drowning us in stuff?

Fast-Fashion Castoffs Fuel Global Recycling Network

Eric Bellman investigates #fastfashion and finds folks in #India churning a huge recycling network.  A quote from a recycling trainer, “…all the fashion dross he surveys reflects the fickleness, and wealth, of Western consumers. They use it one or two times and get bored, they are turning to new fashion trends every day.”  The amount of recycling is mind-boggling and workers are hard-pressed to find a reason for it.  If we have learned how to be fickle in the last 30 years, perhaps we can un-learn it?



Austin Zero Waste Alliance meeting tonight! #AZWA

Hey all!

Austin Zero Waste Alliance will be meeting next Tuesday night, June 28 at 7 PM. We’ll be looking at the first draft of the new AZWA website, and we may have more special agenda items—

Austin Zero Waste Alliance Facebook Page

Austin Zero Waste Alliance Facebook Page

stay tuned! As always it will be a great opportunity for networking and socializing with like-minded folks!

WHAT: Monthly AZWA meeting
WHEN: Tuesday, June 28, 7 PM
WHERE: Recycled Reads, 5335 Burnet Road
WHY: See our newest digital tools, connect to Austin‘s Zero Waste community

#BoomyMcBoomface cleans the #oceans of #trash!

Boomy McBoomface

Boomy McBoomface

As a companion piece to Upcycling Ocean Trash into Shelters—I give you the #Dutch initiative that will help #harvest that #plastic to use for #shelters!  Utilizing their wonderfully named #boom, #BoomyMcBoomface — the founder, #BoyanSlat developed this system to gather plastic #waste from the gyres so we can #upcycle it!


Via #TheGuardian:

A bid to clear the Pacific of its plastic debris has moved a step closer with the launch of the biggest prototype clean-up boom yet by the Dutch environment minister at a port in The #Hague.

On Thursday the 100m-long barrier will be towed 20km out to sea for a year of sensor-monitored tests, before being scaled up for real-life trials off the Japanese coast at the end of next year.

If all goes well, full-scale deployment of a 100km-long version will take place in the “great Pacific garbage patch” between California and Hawaii in 2020.

The Dutch environment minister, Sharon Dijksma, told the Guardian that her government, which part-funded the test, was fully backing the project, which will eventually cost around €300m.

“We can use our political pressure with other governments, businesses and the international institutions to fund this on an even bigger scale,” she said. “We are used to fronting public-private [partnerships] like this. It is not new for us. When it is a success, philanthropists will be standing in line asking to join us.”

The snake-like ocean barrier is made out of vulcanised rubber and works by harnessing sea currents to passively funnel trash in surface waters – often just millimetres in diameter – into a V-shaped cone.

A cable sub-system will anchor the structure at depths of up to 4.5km – almost twice as far down as has even been done before – keeping it in place so it can trap the rubbish for periodic collection by boats.

A fully scaled-up barrier would be the most ambitious ocean cleansing project yet, capturing around half of the plastic soup that circles the Pacific gyre within a decade. That at least is the plan.

#Upcycling #Plastic #Waste from our #Oceans to build #Shelter ~ GENIUS!

Nev House

Nev House

#NevHyman, who is #rethinking our #waste in the ocean #gyres to #repurpose the plastic into cyclone-resistant housing for people in vulnerable island nations. #Genius!  This is reverse #supplychain ingenuity in action!

From the interview with #SeaChange radio:

Many people living in Pacific nations, like Vanuatu, Indonesia, and the Philippines, struggle to find adequate shelter, a challenge compounded by the elevated risk of structure-destroying cyclones. Meanwhile, miles off their coasts, plastic waste floats in the ocean, contaminating the marine food chain and threatening the world’s largest ecosystem.

Our guest this week is Nev Hyman, an avid surfer who saw these two seemingly unrelated problems and devised a solution. His company, Nev House, uses recycled plastic to build low-cost, fire- and cyclone-resistant, solar- and water sanitation-equipped houses for people living in developing nations. He tells us about how Nev House partners with charities to actualize their business model, how he feels the emergency shelter system should be streamlined, and how this small company will upcycle 3 million tons of plastic waste over the next four years.

Date extended to apply for #SXSWEco Startup Showcase!

SXSWEco StartUp Showcase

SXSWEco StartUp Showcase

Do you have an #eco idea that needs exposure?  Have your started a company that cares for the #environment but needs a little boost?  Apply for the #SXSWEcoStartUpShowcase!  They have extended the application date to Monday June 27!

The competition offers impact startups the opportunity to pitch to a panel of Judges made up of representatives from major corporations, foundations, venture capitalists, and media outlets as well as the entire #SXSW Eco audience. Presenting companies have collectively gone on to raise over $70M. See 10 Success Stories from SXSW Eco 2015 Startups.

Categories for Entry

  • Building
  • Energy
  • Food + Agriculture
  • Global Health
  • IoT + Software
  • Not-for-Profit
  • Social Impact
  • Supply Chain + Product Innovation
  • Transportation
  • Reuse + Recycling
  • Water
  • Other

The Startup Showcase is open to all #cleantech and #socialimpact startups that have not raised over $5M in funding. To apply, submit an application through our online portal.

Contact startupshowcase@sxsweco.com with questions or to get involved.

#HGTV Flea Market Flip—#Upcycling goes #mainstream!

Flea Market Flip logo

Flea Market Flip

I just caught an episode of HGTV’s #FleaMarketFlip featuring the  #FIT designers vs. #PennState crafters and it was good!  Disclaimer: I was rooting for the FIT designers as I knew their aesthetic would be “on point”.

I really want to do a show where you are not so much buying low and #upcycling—but finding items as #trash and making them useable and/or beautiful again (in a new form, perhaps).  Once an item has gone to a #fleamarket—there is a #salvage ethic involved (it is worth something).  I want to see the transformation from the side-of-the-road find (#waste) to a $500 sale. Literally worth NOTHING to an elevated piece for your home.

Who wants a new #Austin #Upcycle Challenge?

Okay, so it has been a while.  It’s not you—it’s me.  I would like to hear from folks if they want another Austin Upcycle Challenge this year—please ping me if you or an assembled team is interested.  We could even do a #virtualchallenge!

Here are some photos from our first challenge:

Ping me blythe@re-sourcery.org or just comment on this site if you want to be included.