Up-fuse takes faulty, rejected plastic bags and makes everyday totes, backpacks, sleeves and accessories. Started by two young entrepreneurs, Yara and Rania in Cairo, Egypt, Up-fuse is sustainable as well as ethical – they upcycle plastic bags and also help empower women by creating work and educational opportunities for them.
Up-fuse is the very first brand I stumbled upon when I started Théla and since then it has been so inspiring and humbling to see them grow and make such a huge impact is just two years. I find their idea of fusing plastic bags very unique and while they make several bags of each style, each bag is one of a kind as it has its own individual colour combination and pattern – no bag looks the same!
Yara has been kind enough to tell us more about the brand:
What is the idea behind starting Up-fuse?
The main idea is to spread awareness about an eco-conscious lifestyle and to help solve environmental challenges we are meeting everyday. We are also very eager to meet these environmental challenges by creating job opportunities here in Cairo – we are now focusing on empowering women to have a stable income and to help them finish their education.
Who are the people behind Up-fuse?
We are two co-founders, Yara and Rania.
We have two more women working on marketing, design and production and 32 technicians who work as plastic bag upcyclers and sew our products.
What kind of products do you make and how are they ethical?
We have 19 product lines that are under bags and luggage.
The bags are ethical because they are made from faulty plastic bags that we buy from factories that produce them, plastic bags that would have otherwise been dumped or burned for their faulty nature.
We always know the source of our raw materials and are always making sure that the raw materials are either locally made or are eco-friendly.
Additionally, every product we make helps create job opportunities for women and supports them to finish their education.
What is the process behind making each product?
We buy the faulty plastic bags and send them to our partner NGO for cleaning and sanitising. After this, we send the plastic bags to to our mini production hub where they are fused and where our patterns are designed. The fused sheets are then sent to our sewing workshop where professionals sew the bags based on the patterns.
How much time does it take to make an Up-fuse bag?
Each bag takes 3 to 5 hours to produce. This is much longer compared to other brands but we care about the quality and the working conditions of our women.
What is the impact you have created so far?
In two years Up-fuse has been able to upcycle 50,000 plastic bags and help educate 24 women.
This year we won the WeMENA (Women Entrepreneurs for a Resilient Future) award and became their Ambassadors. We have also been given an award by UN Environment as one of the leaders who work on a detoxified future.
Up-fuse is offering us an exclusive 15% discount on all their products! Visit their website and use the discount code upfuseholiday. The offer is valid till 31st December 2017.