The Magic of Upcycling

So what exactly is ‘upcycling’?

Upcycling is reusing a product, Up-sycledgiving it another shelf life with a bit of creativity and DIY imagination.There are permanent solutions to using products longer so it does not end up in landfills.

Upcycling, downcycling, recycling is what our grandparents used to do on a regular basis with clothes, apparel and accessories which were either handed down to cousins and children or used in cleaning, your grandmom today will probably laugh if you asked her did she ever buy a pocha ka kapra (sweeping cloth) In many parts of the world reuse and recycle plays a role in livelihood and economy.

A lot of upcoming and innovative gardeners, architects and interior designers use and explore the many benefits attached to upcycling today. This article celebrates the culture of Upcycling in the country where we talk to entrepreneurs and experts in the field who follow their passion and belief in ‘Less is More’ and ironically you can do a lot more with what you already have as well!

Upcycling bottles into lights
Photo credit: DIY

“Today many of us overconsume it makes sense to reuse and salvage what we have already have giving objects a longer shelf life with a  bit of creativity and cutting down from our part”, says Tariq Merchant from UP-PSYcled who makes furniture and home decor from leftover products. “After living by myself for so many years and shifting homes buying new things it just did not make sense buying since you end up wasting, you get to do your bit as well this way” says the innovator.

architectural intervention
Photo credit: Architectural Intervention

“Reusing what you have at home is easy, you can use almost anything from bottles to left over metal scraps, even broken items like an umbrella can be turned into something” explains Janani from Architectural Intervention experts in making eco-friendly interiors and homes who use glass bottles in walls adding character and colour to spaces.

Sattvham upcycled
Photo credit: Satthvam

“Avoid throwing out old clothes, they can always be turned into rugs, durries, pillow and cushion cases with some creativity”, says Vidya from Satthvam who started with a sewing machine and now takes orders across the city in Bangalore. Reinvention another  which uses leftover material and turns it into sling bags, backpacks baby clothes and more.

Upcycled denim a hundred hands
Photo credit: A Hundred Hands The Denim Project


A Hundred Hands runs The Denim Project where donated jeans are creatively upcycled into beautiful and trendy denim projects from clutch bags, to laptop and Ipad covers. They also use tribal embroidery in their products. Proceeds of sales goes to supporting patients of NIMHANS being a social organisation as well. Bluemadegreen has a similar mantra and makes everything from jeans, the name meaning turning blue into a green product.

Upcycled Tetra paks
Photo credit: Joy at Work


Upcycled tetrapaks is another huge move towards sustainable fashion, made with used tetrapak cartons it makes ideal grocery and shopping bags and take the weight due to its durable manufacturing, there are close to 7 layers that make up a tetra paks 2 being alumnium based. Anu Spandhanna and Joy at Work local NGOs in Bangalore help women with livelihoods and sustainable ones that too, “We can  show individuals how to make them, it is easy and there is a value in these products, for us and the urban environment, says Mary one the makers” Yes these do not end up going into landfills, all about a perception of a product once you think the shelf life is over.


Photo credit: Greensole

Greensole another greenwave which is Mumbai based founded by young Shriyans Bhandari refurbishes running shoes into trendy slippers and supplies them to the needy. He has supplied 400 poor people footwear and wishes to supply 20,000 people in need of footwear across the country. “Worldwide every year 35 crore pairs of running shoes are discarded, at the same time more than 3 billion people do not have proper footwear which leads to serious foot illnesses. This is not only about recycling and saving carbon emissions but also providing the poor their basic needs”. Talk about a two in one mission here!

The Muse use upcycling as a major part of their projects. “We give makeovers to homes using material which is already present, reducing the need to procure new material as much as possible” explains Ashvini, “There is a lot you can do with what is already at hand, give an old mirror a new look in your living room, soup up plan old furniture like an old coffee table, wood pieces have a lot of uses, add a little paint get hold of a carpenter to fix and you are pretty much set.”

A Green Venture will be starting workshops and activities on upcycling in Bangalore, keep watching this space. You can email us on for more details.

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