Nothing is Ever Wasted”

Founders, Yara Yassin, Lama El Khawanky and partner Rania Rafie, are the brand’s driving force. Their vision, passion, determination, entrepreneurial minds and design skills gave birth to this world of Up-fuse and to efforts sustain the brand’s growth and expansion.  Whether it’s designing, overlooking production, managing the brand and its collaborations with the NGOs or catering for the needs of their teams, they do it whole-heartedly!

The journey that has resulted in the creation of Up-Fuse was one with tremendous thought and vision. The brand was established in 2013 in Cairo, after thorough research for the founders’ graduation Bachelor degree project at the German University in Cairo. Yara and Lama were overwhelmed by the amount of waste in Egypt and felt they had to take action to make a difference to support improving livelihoods by addressing waste reduction and environmental degradation. Up-Fuse became a reality by establishing itself as an environmental and social enterprise that helps consumers make a difference while maintaining a cool, colorful, and cheerful style.

Up-Fuse’s leading products include all types of bags, footwear, and apparel. The process in how these are developed is an intricate one with a lot of thought in ensuring that it utilizes processes that transform otherwise, waste, into beautiful items that are environmentally friendly and at the same time engaging and employing women and youth in the community.

We were interested to know more about the process that that has successfully resulted in transforming objects of waste to so many products that are kind to the environment and stylish and practical items.

The following steps are for three main items: plastic bags, plastic bottles and car tires:

Plastic Bags:

Plastic bag’s material are collected and undergoe a 3-step sanitization process using specific detergents and a special washing machine adopted by Up-fuse especially for this purpose. The materials are then hung to dry in the sun, as a further precautionary measure to ensure cleanliness through an environmentally friendly approach. By utilizing the talents of the Roh Al Shabab NGO artisans, the raw materials are processed into Up-fuse fabric sheets by compression through specifically tailored machines

Plastic bottles:

Up-fuse uses cloth made from PET bottles! This cloth is made from 100% recycled polyester, giving a second life to plastic bottles that would have otherwise ended up as garbage either in landfills or in water. Plastic bottles are collected cleaned and shredded and put through a specifically tailored process that transforms them into white cloth that can be made into many fashionable item; this way Up-fuse ensures that the items are environmentally friendly and at the same time engaging many talented young Egyptians in the development and design of the final product.

Car Tires:

Up-fuse uses tires as the foot soles for shoes, without any further processing – just cutting and fit and leaving zero carbon footprint! These are developed in workshops in shobra, employing and supporting the community there.  Why leave tires end up in landfills when they can fit perfectly, comfortably and make the earth feel better? Less materials created, more reused and repurposed.

Since its inception Up-fuse has made some very impressive achievements and these include: Up-cycled 675,000 plastic bags, up-cycled 360 car tires and 9,300 plastic bottles

Up-fuse has been a recipient of multiple awards recognizing their efforts, some of which include: Injaz Egypt and Nahdet El Mahrousa, to name a few.

Success for the Up-fuse team is measured through the number of materials that have been able to recycle to date. They have a vision for the next 5 yearsto reach millions of upcycled plastic bags, plastic bottles and car tires, and want to be remembered by the brand that improved the waste issue in Egypt.

Let’s support this Cairo-based brand and social enterprise in reaching its goals; in getting as close as possible to zero waste, and in making this plant more beautiful, sustainable while utilizing home-grown talent and empowering the community.

Each month we feature someone who is doing outstanding work to build a sustainable future in our region. Whether you are an entrepreneur creating new products or an activist promoting sustainability, or an individual who has gone through a life transforming journey, we will want to interview you, share your story more widely, with the hope of inspiring others. We will want to  make you one of our Yalla Stars. If you have any great suggestions for a Yalla Star let us know .

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