Upcycle Initiatives


UPCYCLE was established and developed in South Africa by Winnie McHenry, a design and development consultant with a strong craft, decorating and design background. An enormous amount of passion, time and effort has been put into turning UPCYCLE’s mission and dream into a reality by making a difference to the planet one person at a time.

Upcycle was born from our need as creative individuals to generate usable and useful items from the things that surround us. This is to improve the lives of the people on this planet. The amount of junk thrown away each day provided us with tons of raw materials. It wasn't long before we found that we could manufacture pretty much anything from "junk", from large format art installations,eg: "Jellyfish made from plastic bags - To gift boxes" etc... – The list is truly endless!

No, we don't get paid to hug trees; Upcycle is a company dedicated to changing the way we all look at waste. Our primary goal is to teach and empower individuals to generate their own income from the resources they have at hand. We take individuals from impoverished areas and teach them the skills they need to create useful and usable items from free and unutilized junk. Not only does this clean up the environment they live in, but also provides a source of income.

UPCYCLE – The Green Creative – creates green solutions for your waste, the reinvestment in the environment through reinventing waste and giving it a new purpose as opposed to recycling it.

UPCYCLE focuses on developing skills, transferring knowledge and training individuals to create and develop products from waste, creating sustainable job opportunities for unemployed people with the objective to develop an up-cycle set of skills implemented and supported by effective CSI projects.

UPCYCLE believes in empowering people to use their natural talents to provide them with enough income to support their families. Our up-cycling drive serves to bring this information back to our everyday lives in our step-by-step training courses. By empowering and training people to do something that can generate income & uplift their community, we are grooming skills that are invaluable to our country and our people.

Most companies have standardised their corporate gifts and stationery including event and function decor. There are very few new and exciting items in the market at the moment, and even fewer that are environmentally friendly. We estimate that 85% of corporate gifts and decor are imported, non-green items, made of potentially harmful materials that are not recycled or handmade.

UPCYCLE allows companies to promote themselves with green branding and marketing messages that include their green standing. This means that the marketing department can unlock the value in its own corporate gifts and functions and reduce its overall marketing costs.

UPCYCLE is promoting handmade products, made with recycled items, which when sold help to give groups and individuals an income for an opportunity in life.

UPCYCLE gifts were developed to feature the following key attributes:

  • Up-cycled waste materials
  • Personalised
  • Cost effective
  • Social Up-liftment
  • Hand crafted
  • Minimal impact on the environment
  • Functional and decorative
  • Sustainable and developmental

By purchasing green gifts for your corporate event you are making a difference to Mother Nature! Each item that is re-used rather than discarded relieves the impact on our industry and manufacturing processes as well as our carbon footprint as a collective.

Upcycle provides income generation opportunities through recycle glass bottle project.20180426 105949

Upcycle is a company dedicated to changing the way we look at waste. We started our recycled glass initiative is to teach and empower individuals to generate their own income from glass bottles that are thrown away. As well as running training programmes for glass recycling we have a full glass upcycle initiative currently in operation at our innovation hub in randburg.

Over the last two year we have trained and empowered people from the area how to turn plain old glass bottles into beautiful and function home decor items. We now have a number of entrepreneurs working in the innovation hub creating these pieces.

Feel free to visit the Upcycle innovation hub and be inspired by the amazing work that is being done there.

The team is available to do commission work for you as well as corporate orders.

Client Feedback

I recently had the pleasure of dealing with Winnie & Mark from Upcycle Winnie, based in Randburg.

All products are made from recycled items and of exceptional value.

I have ordered various candles and glasses from them, cut from old recycled wine & champagne bottles, and their quality is top notch. They are cut with the utmost professionalism, and are scratch resistant.

champagne candleAll glass is cut on premises, and safe for dishwashing and microwave use. All glass is cut smoothly and to your exact expectation.

They go above and beyond with their services offered, and the turnaround time is reasonable and quality affordable prices.

Products can be used for Décor, Kitchen use, or lovely Corporate Branded gifts at year end.

They will assist with whichever item you choose to go with and give their expertise advise always, using their creativity.

I definitely would order from them again, am extremely happy with all products ordered from them so far, and recommend them 100 percent for any glass cutting needs. They are always willing to go above and beyond, which is so rare to find these days.

 I believe they're the whole package and are a great representation of what a responsible and caring business should be. They have a lot of pride in what they do and I have no doubt this will be obvious in the many glowing reviews to come from all their customers in the future.

Cristina Batten




For any sandblasting or glass cutting enquiries contact us

 What we do


bottle neck vase Upcycle, are all about Upcycling, repurposing all kinds of green sustainable projects. Everything can be used in one way or another and be given an innovative purpose and life in your home, so don’t be in a rush to throw things away

We do live in a commercial society where money and assets have become our primary goal in life, but just because we buy new things everyday it does not mean the old ones are useless. Find creative ways to reuse them adapt their function and make new beautiful items for your home and garden. Upcycle used wine bottles into centrepieces or glass lamps and chandeliers; cut them to make candle holders and unique food plates. Just let your imagination do the work for you and be creative.

green bottle light fitting on 400Upcycle has always had a passion for glass and all things to do with recycling glass. Over the past couple of months, it’s been an absolute delight seeing all the different products that can be created using a simple used wine bottle, a glass jar or glass container. Who though recycling can be so creative.

We have had the privilege of teaching a few unemployed people how to recycle glass into amazing products and are supporting them through the learning of product development as well as sales and marketing.

The first and most obvious example is to literally turn your recycled wine bottles, jars or containers into the most incredible Chandeliers or simple light fittings.

 The process is easy, a quick cut to remove the base of the wine bottle, add your light fittings and voila. 

upcycle lightfitting 400







 We make is sound a lot easier then it actually is but we have great people that work really hard to bring you good quality well made products.



nescafe coffee bottle outside lamp 400

Nescafe coffee bottle light fitting

Lids of jars can be converted to hold the light fitting and a used glass container is transformed into a beautiful light. Sandblasting, dremelling or painting your glass light fitting with either glass stain or a ceramic paint, can make your old glass into new art.

Used beer bottles can be turned into bed trimmings for your herb garden. The recycled bottles create an effective, yet strong and durable border, also giving your flower bed the extra height needed for mulching. Take a look at our idea here: Flowerbed Border with Glass.

bottle edge


We would also like to give you some ideas on how to recycle glass bottles. Why throw it away when you can make yourself a beautiful vase, or use it as a flower pot. The thing is that when you make something out of nothing all by yourself, it is the way you feel after you see the result that makes it worthwhile. All it takes is some creativity. Ever time one of our team makes a great product the enthusiasm and creativity grow. They become confident and very motivated to create a successful business from waste. This entire process is instilling a love for the planet, a new way of looking and waste reduction and income generation! 

Try some recycled glass projects for yourself Step by step glass projects


If you looking for awesome corporate gifts and products; you will love the sustainability, socio ecomomic development and green creativity of these products.

We have the wonderful gifting ideas on our web-site. Why not buy an Upcycled glass creation for a friend or family member, we have some outstanding examples on our web-site. Upcycle Gifts

Should you be looking for yet another amazing gift idea, explore our Candle Holders and Tea Light Holders: Candle holders
and Tea Lights.

Passed work

Some of the glass work we have already done for clients.

With the assistance of Investec's agents, we  set out to source 5 000 recycled wine bottles. These were then  hand cut into glasses to be used in the Investec canteen. The bottles were be sandblasted with Investec's logo as well as their by-line. The purpose and requirement for this project is to upcycle the wine bottles into drinking glasses, while creating an opportunity to involve community members in the project. read more about the Investec project... 

or visit our shopping cart for ideas on personalised upcycled glass tumblers


RESTRAW officially started after an epic backpacking honeymoon adventure in 2016, where my husband and I travelled to, and dived in, all sorts of areas around the globe. A very sad reality that hit us time and time again was that we saw just how much plastic was affecting our planet. Our oceans and islands, and just about every area we went to (even the most remote places), had some level of plastic infiltrating and taking over. We realised how out of control the whole situation has gotten. It’s one thing to know about it but seeing it with your own eyes is a another story altogether and really changes something in you.

We came across reusable straws for the first time in Bali and it was so incredibly awesome. They resonated with us from the second we saw them. Not only are they brilliant for the environment but they are pretty amazing to sip through as well. After a long chat with one of our environmentalist friends about the gigantic plastic issues the world is facing, we knew that we needed to bring the straws to South Africa. Once back in South Africa in 2017, we started our mission to bring RESTRAW to life.

RESTRAW is a change in mind-set, it’s a mind shift. Our motto is rethink, reuse, reset. It’s about rethinking the way we do things, reusing and recycling everything that we can, and resetting for a better, plastic-free future.

We hope that our RESTRAWS resonate with you and that you get as much joy from them as we do.

RESTRAW Products

Our products have been carefully conceptualised and crafted to be as environmentally friendly as possible, from start to finish. We use sustainable material as far as we can and produce as much with our South African brothers and sisters as possible.

restraw sleeveOur glass straws are manufactured and branded locally, each one being hand crafted with the utmost care. We have partnered with an incredible company called Upcycle (www.upcycle.co.za) to make our beautiful hemp sleeves. They teach and empower people in various communities to make a living from the resources they have at hand. We use 100% hemp fabric for the sleeves as it is incredibly sustainable, cruelty free, antibacterial and antifungal. Our packaging is made from recycled and biodegradable material. We have requested that our suppliers stay away from using plastic for any of our products and rather use paper if necessary.


Visit (www.restraw.co.za) for more info on getting your own straws






Upcycle getting involved


Thanks to our amazing network of people that donate us all sorts of materials and cool things to experiment with, we have been able to train incredible people that have previously not had work, how to make things to sell at markets to create an income for themselves.

mayWhen RESTRAW came along we didn’t really have a well-established income for the people that where making things to sell at markets so this was a great opportunity for a stable income because for every RESTRAW pouch they sew they get paid for. Teaming up with RESTRAW is a perfect combination, RESTRAW needing the RESTRAW pouches and being able to pay people for the product they were making and Upcycle having a skilled bunch of hard working people that are willing to learn anything new.

Beacause our team are not afraid to learn and understand that you cannot get it right the first time, when people are motivated enough they find a way of doing what they want to do and make it happen. They have spent many hours learning ad growing thier confidence levels and are really keen to take on new challenges.

ur team has been creating new products from all the materials we have been donated and learning how to use the sewing machines without holding back or being afraid to learn. It is an exceptionally refreshing environment when you don’t have to nag anyone to do their job or when people don’t drag their feet every time they have to learn a new skill and this is why Upcycle thrives, we always make the most out of our days, we look for people who are willing to put in the effort and then put all our effort into them.


RESTRAW pouches sold separately or with straws

www. restraw.co.za



  • Paper (2)

    handmade recycled products made from re-using waste paper from corporates and individuals wanting to reduces their carbon footprint and make a difference to our planet by upcycling their waste paper into something new and usable. Upcycle products made from paper that is pulped down and remade or even products that are created from the paper in its current state, including cardboard and tissue.

  • Glass (1)

    Recycled glass bottles into drinking glasses, wine bottles into vases, any type of glass that is no longer needed that can be upcycled into useful and beautiful new products.

  • Scrap Fabric (10)

    Offcuts of fabric from industry waste that is re-used and turned into valuble upcycled products preventing these scraps from ending up in landfil. 

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