Most people go into new jobs to empower themselves financially, particularly in this economy, but at up-cycle the experience is more compelling because not only does one feel like a cog in a machine, there is a lot of sustainable development and design thinking education in abundance. At first we were taught how to make dog toys, something most of us did not find value in and we all immediately realised that value does not only reside where we place it because people are different. Through the dog toys many of us learned a valuable lesson about sustainable development, and that is to understand that people are more valuable than machines. Furthermore we learnt that our joint efforts were more valuable than when we work separately. 

The green circular movement requires that we buy into businesses that value the environment and people before profit, to be conscious of our consumption habits and to treat every product we encounter as the beginning stage of something better. This is the philosophy that I associate Up-cycle with, a business built to mitigate production waste while empowering communities and individuals at the same time. It is very encouraging to work for and with people who care about the wellbeing of our planet while creating sustainable products at very reasonable prices. This, however, does not mean that up-cycled products will always be cheap, if anything these products should cost more because of the human element attached to it.  

Up-cycle management values human development, I noticed this at one of our afternoon sessions where we exchange personality traits with our peers and get to know one another. It was explained that the exercises were to prepare those of us who want to develop our entrepreneurial skills. I found this to be very useful because not many companies allow their employees to develop themselves for personal gain especially with the skills taught at that very company. Below is a description of one of the learners’ experience at Upcycle so far: 

“…..It has been an interesting experience so far. There is something new everyday, I’m learning skills that I’ll be able to use even beyond my time at Upcycle. 

I’ve even grown to like working with people when I see that they’re willing to make the effort to get things done…….”

This and many other accounts are what make Upcycle an experience worth having. A circular initiative, a progressive and sustainable environment dedicated to reducing waste. 

Shop"

At first glance Up-cycle is your general neighbourhood shop where you can find anything from household cleaning items to clothing and even shoes. A compelling idea for a lazy shopper looking to save a buck. However, the day to day operations behind the scenes are far from that of a regular shop with a store room. The work that goes into making the shop look nonchalant and easy going is very consuming and most importantly, daring. 

My experience in the shop has been a positive one because being in direct contact with the customers reminds me how important it is to keep talking about the significance of sustainable business development. The shop offers the opportunity not only to learn about the zero waste to landfill but first hand experience with how different people perceive our work, the green circular movement and how to get them involved in sustainable consumption. 

The customer base is very different, some people come in to purchase zero waste to landfill products, our front of the store products. Usually these are the customers who already know what they want. The second type of customer is a first timer, first timers are exciting because some of them are beginning the sustainable consumption journey while others have seen the brand online and want to have a face-to-face interaction with the products we have on offer, not just zero waste products, but up cycled items as well. The third and final interaction I have come to value is when an individual comes in to donate old items they think might be useful at upcycle. These interactions are proof that environmental preservation is a possibility, something we can achieve through dedication, education and consistent conscious behaviour with regards to our consumption and production habits.

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