World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June every year to raise awareness about the environment.
2015’s theme was ’Sustainable Consumption’ - which brings to mind the practice of upcycling - the act of adding value and re-purposing items that would otherwise be binned.
Upcycling Level 1: Fun DIY craft projects at home
Running a quick Pinterest search would turn up plenty of fun and easy craft ideas which allow people to assign beautiful and creative new purposes for materials e.g. glass bottles -
Upcycling Level 2: Supporting designers who craft sustainably - and beautifully.
We've also come across creative product designers who practiced sustainable design, and converted it into beautiful ornaments in people's homes.
Allison Patrick - a New York based architect-turned-lighting designer converts pages from old books into beautiful lamps:
Closer to home, we have Dennis Lau from AEIOU who has converted old kettles into lamp, and was featured in Channel News Asia last year:
Upcycling Level 3: Supporting businesses and the community - for social good
While the upcycling idea is great for craft activities and design for our homes, what if a sustainable circular ecosystem was built - and actual dollar value was created?
What if businesses collaborated, scaled the impact... and were able to help causes and people in need?
Launched on Boxing Day 2015 (the day after Christmas), pre-loved books, toys and clothes collected over a 2-week drive, and sold at a 2-day bazaar saw the initiative exceeding expectations and reaching a $47,776 collected - pledged towards the Singapore Council of Women Organizations (SCWO).
A challenge remains - how can brands leverage good corporate citizenship practices and be profitable for the long-term, if they're fronting a cause on their own?
There's more that can and should be done - collaboratively.