Saving Tomorrow Through Upcycling Today. Part 2

The world is facing an enormous problem of overproduction and pollution of the planet with waste, which humanity produces about 2 billion tons yearly. But imagine if we could change the narrative and transform some of this waste into novel, innovative products? Well, there is no need to imagine as in this article, we brought together remarkable Ukrainian companies that recycle materials others consider common garbage into new cool things that can adorn your home, stylishly complement your outfit, or become an eco-friendly solution for your business.

rekava

rekava manufactures the world's first bio-degradable disposable tableware from recycled coffee grounds. To produce sustainable products, the rekava team takes used coffee grounds from eco-conscious businesses, which are currently disposed of in landfills. In this way, they reduce the amount of food waste and care for the planet's resources. 

In addition to their flagship product, the rekava coffee-cup, they have expanded their range to include scented candles and biodegradable coffee pods. The candles are thoughtfully crafted using containers made from recycled coffee grounds, premium soy wax, aromatic oils, and high-quality dyes. Taking a unique approach, rekava has developed fire-resistant bioceramic holders made from eggshells, departing from the traditional metal holders used for candle wicks.

Their latest innovation, the coffee pods, features a biodegradable container made from recycled coffee beans and a corn-based lid. Once these products have served their purpose, the containers can be conveniently disposed of by sorting them into organic fractions for composting or repurposed as biodegradable pots for plants.

The brand was established in 2020 by Yuriy Tustanovskyi and Dmytro Bidiuk, who were interested in the circular economy, responsible production, and consumption long before they came up with the idea of their own business.

Ochis

Ochis produces the world's first sustainable glasses, handmade from coffee by-products and natural oils. Ochis has achieved a breakthrough in sustainable eyewear design by developing a technology that transforms coffee waste into a fully plant-based, chemical-free, and waterproof material. Additionally, their eyewear's plant-based composition not only makes it waterproof but also retains the delightful aroma of coffee, and once you're done using them, they can be used as fertilizer, completing the full cycle of sustainability.

Ochis locally source materials for their coffee-based glasses, which reduces their carbon footprint and eliminates CO2 emissions during production. With 2.5 million cups of coffee consumed daily worldwide, there's an almost unlimited supply of raw materials available, making Ochis' production process both environmentally conscious and economically viable. 

The brand was founded in 2019 in Kyiv, Ukraine, by Maksym Havrylenko, who hails from a family of an optician and technology engineer and has 15 years of experience in the eyewear industry.

YAKUSH

YAKUSH is a brand that creates tableware using mainly huta glass, a unique glass-making technique invented in Ukraine during the 15th century that involves free-blowing objects. Additionally, YAKUSH remelts broken glass from non-functioning factories to give new life to the shards. This approach to production is environmentally friendly and safe for human health, as the glass does not emit any vapors or absorb the smell of combustion products under high temperatures.

The brand was founded in 2017 by Masha Yakush, who has an extensive experience in gastronomical travel and believes that the presentation of a dish is just as important as its taste.

Releaf Paper

Releaf Paper is an innovative greentech startup focused on producing sustainable paper and packaging, founded in 2021 by biotechnologist Valentyn Frechka and businessman Alexander Sobolenko.

Releaf technology is a revolutionary way to produce paper from renewable raw materials without chemicals and reduce CO2 emissions by 78%. Using fallen leaves and recycled fibers, Releaf Paper manufactures high-quality paper that is on par with conventional paper in terms of its properties and performance. 

The choice to use fallen leaves as the primary raw material is driven by their value and accessibility. This decision proves cost-effective since it eliminates the need for additional expenses, given that fallen leaves are commonly considered as waste. Releaf Paper uses leaves from urban ecosystems found in residential areas, parks, and sidewalks, ensuring a stable and year-round supply. Leaf pulp serves as a filler and can fully substitute wood cellulose traditionally used in paper production. 

Upcycling is not just a passing trend but a significant movement aimed at reducing the negative impact of manufacturing on the environment. By actively supporting brands that embrace this philosophy, we not only contribute to the preservation of our planet but also promote a conscious and sustainable approach to consumption. Our choices as consumers hold the power to shape a better future, and Ukrainian brands are right alongside you in this journey.

In our previous article, we thoroughly examined the importance of embracing upcycling as a new norm and embarked on our exploration of Ukrainian upcycled fashion brands. If you happened to miss out on that, don't worry – you can catch up by reading the first part right here.

Remember, every choice we make counts. Let's continue to pave the way for positive change together. Discover more eco-responsible and innovative brands at our website.

Author: Karyna Klachyk

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