Thursday 8th September 2022 (chair/facilitator: Prof Richie Moalosi)

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08.00-08.10 UK time Opening 
08.10-09.00 UK time (09.10-10.00 South Africa time) 01. Presentation by Kevin Kimwelle (20 mins) + Q&A and discussion on potential future collaboration (30 mins)
09.00-09.50 UK time (10.00-10.50 Botswana time) 02. Presentation by Thatayaone Mosepedi and Prof Richie Moalosi (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (30 mins)
09.50-10.00 UK time Comfort break 
10.00-10.50 UK time (11.00-11.50 Zimbabwe time) 03. Presentation by Walter Chipambwa (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (30 mins)
10.50-11.00 UK time Closing

01. Alternative design using upcycling to create a greater socioeconomic impact in Africa

Kevin Kimwelle, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa

There is a global acceptance on the urgency of sustainable development. However, the green agenda seems to further marginalise poorer populations that cannot afford mainstream trending ‘green technology’ (for example wind turbines, solar panels, EV’s among others). These poorer populations are a majority in South Africa, Africa and the ‘third world’. There is need to better engage these populations into creating greener solutions that empower local communities to harness the social-economic and environmental benefits of the green agenda. There are few green developmental models that show a wholistic approach of how this can be sustainably achieved in South Africa.

The RDI (research development and innovation) that will be presented uses a participatory approach to codesign greener solutions with communities to promote and sustain a greater socioeconomic impact. Multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches combine design with alternative development strategies to bring about localised low-tech green alternatives that support livelihoods in local communities. These can be replicated and scaled out. The work incorporates NGOs, corporates, industry, municipalities, and local communities to attain a wholistic approach. Working will the bottom-up, top-down and people centred approach to create acceptance of local alternative green technologies and help the environmental cause while promoting circularity and sustainability. The ambitious RDI has been successful greatly due to collaborative approach. It engages several academic institutions; Nelson Mandela University and Cape Peninsula University of Technology University (Cape Town), Wismar University (Germany) and Lawrence Technological University (USA). The work also sees partnership from India and Brazil. The work highlights the importance of global cooperation. The precedents start with a waste-picker’s struggle in the recycling business. It then moves to the aspirations of a community in transition. The work also partners up with NGOs to better their community outreach. Finally, the RDI accelerates towards mainstreaming the lessons learnt from the precedents work towards impacting education, academia and practise integrating alterative design in the mainstream practice. Click here to watch the presentation video.

02. Integrating upcycling in the industrial design programme as an alternative approach to mitigate environmental challenges in Botswana

Thatayaone Mosepedi and Prof Richie Moalosi, University of Botswana, Botswana

Despite many benefits of upcycling, the subject has not received much attention from institutions of higher learning in Africa. A more significant number of products that have reached the end of their lifetime in Africa become waste which may lead to environmental degradation. Even though the benefits of upcycling in product design are resolute, there is very little research to validate it. Meanwhile, the available research in the area is aligned with the textile and fashion industry. Upcycling can help minimise the products’ effects on the planet, ranging from reducing strain on valuable resources such as minerals and fossil fuels to reducing the hazardous waste produced when new products are manufactured. The benefits of upcycling are insurmountable, ranging from environmental to socio-economic and even to personal. It is therefore imperative for high institutions of learning, especially the ones that specialise in design and manufacturing, to inculcate these ideals to the next generation of designers and engineers on how they can affect a planetary revolution through their designs. For this reason, the Department of Industrial Design and Technology at the University of Botswana took an affirmative step towards the collective planetary goal as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to look at how upcycling can contribute to these goals. This presentation outlines and evaluates the approach taken to align and prepare the future industrial designers at the University of Botswana to embrace ideals of sustainable product design aligned with creative and innovative approaches to giving obsolete products a second life through upcycling. Obsolete everyday consumer products destined for the dumping areas, such as tyres, oil drums and some electrical products, were used. The results show that it is possible to add value to obsolete consumer products and give them a second lease of life. Click here to watch the presentation video. 

Keywords: upcycling, sustainable development goals, sustainable product design, waste management, circular economy

03. Upcycling in the community: Towards an inclusive sustainable cycle

Walter Chipambwa, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe

The way humans consume resources is coming under more spotlight as climate change is upon us. The responsibility of taking care of the environment for future generations to benefit has become everyone’s responsibility. A number of initiatives in various communities around the world have started to play an active role in upcycling even though it is still at a small scale. This presentation details some of the upcycling activities being undertaken in partnership with two communities working with furniture  and apparel manufacturing waste. The two communities are made up of both female and male participants who try to create usable artifacts from the waste collected. As furniture manufacturing waste, mainly sawdust is used in making sculpture artifacts that can be sold to various customers. As pre-consumer apparel waste, mainly the fabric waste and offcutts are used in making a number of products that include bags, blankets, mats to mention a few. These two initiatives aim to help the communities in earning income and saving money through upcycling as the participants sell these or use some of the products (e.g. apparel products) for their daily lives. Click here to watch the presentation video. Click here to watch the presentation video. 

Thursday 22nd September 2022 (chair/facilitator: Dr Kyungeun Sung)

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08.00-08.10 UK time Opening
08.10-08.50 UK time (10.10-10.50 Tanzania time) 04. Presentation by Anneloes Roelandschap (20 mins) + Q&A and discussion on potential future collaboration (20 mins)
08.50-09.30 UK time (08.50-09.30 Nigeria time) 05. Presentation by Bilkisu Garba and Funto Adeh (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (20 mins)
09.30-10.10 UK time (08.30-09.10 Ghana time) 06. Presentation by Dr Ralitsa Diana Debrah, Dr Adam Rahman and Anthony Kofi Badu (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (20 mins)
10.10-10.50 UK time (09.10-09.50 Ghana time) 07. Presentation by Dr Ginn Assibey Bonsu and Dr Alettia Chisin (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (20 mins)
10.50-11.30 UK time (12.50-13.30 Kenya time) 08. Presentation by Dr Sophia Njeru and Prof Richie Moalosi (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (20 mins)
11.30-12.10 UK time (12.30-13.10 Botswana time) 09. Presentation by Paulson Letsholo and Dr Yaone Rapitsenyane (20 mins) + Q&A/discussion (20 mins)
12.10-12.20 UK time  Closing

04. Chako Zanzibar; Upcycled-Uplifted: ‘The impact, challenges and strategy towards becoming a sustainable upcycling company on a small island in East Africa’

Drs Anneloes Roelandschap, Chako Zanzibar, Tanzania 

Every year thousands of tourists visit the tiny island Zanzibar, a pearl in the Indian Ocean. While these guests bring economic support through tourism, they also cause a lot of waste. Zanzibar’s economy depends on the tourism sector, but lacks a national plan regarding waste management. The local communities in Zanzibar have little idea of the environmental (and health) damage of waste, the burning of it (plastics) and the harm it brings to the ocean. It already affects the environment in Zanzibar.

Chako started to operate in 2012 with the mission to foster social, environmental and economic opportunities on the island of Zanzibar by enabling local artisans to preserve their craft, explore their creativity, and live a more sustainable life, while reducing the waste on the island. We act by educating, training, employing and seeking opportunities. Our developments in glass waste management create multiple economic opportunities for craftsmen, waste collection, trainers, designers, and bring environmental solutions for Zanzibar. We keep our focus on recycling and upcycling of what used to be waste into beautiful interior items, souvenirs and accessories which are sold to the tourists and tourism businesses in Zanzibar and beyond. We have created a sustainable way of working that creates environmental solutions and also invest in empowerment and environmental awareness. During the presentation, we will highlight the impact of Chako; share successes but also the challenges we face. We like to connect with other partners to see how we can benefit from each other’s knowledge and network so we can all grow and make a bigger impact in the world around us. Click here to watch the presentation video. 

Keywords: upcycling, uplifting, sustainable development, impact, circular economy, sustainable product design, waste management

05. The Upcycle Architect: 5 years in the Nigerian system

Bilkisu Garba and Funto Adeh, The Upcycle Architect (TUPA), Nigeria 

The Upcycle Architect (TUPA), a Nigerian based social enterprise, was born out of the need to address and find creative solutions to the solid waste problems we face as a country. Generating over 42 million tonnes of waste annually and having about 20% of these waste materials being recycled, solid waste management is a major environmental issue predominant in most parts of the country. In the five years of being in the upcycle business, we have successfully diverted through up-cycling of thousands of solid waste from construction sites, non-biodegradable households scrap and fashion offcuts that continuously litter our environment, pollute water bodies and end up in landfills. In this presentation we aim to take you on a personal journey that directly reflects our experience running TUPA in Nigeria at a time when the term Up-cycling was not and still is not widely known in the Nigerian society. We will share data about how much solid waste we have diverted from dump sites, estimated products we have upcycled from inception, about upcycling practices in Nigeria and the future we envisage. Click here to watch the presentation video. 

06. Circular economy and advertising: an eco-friendly up-cycling process for non-biodegradable prints

Dr Ralitsa Diana Debrah, Dr Adam Rahman, and Anthony Kofi Badu, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana

The advertising industry plays an important role in promoting goods and services for several organisations in African economies. Most often, existing companies and new ones all require advertising to promote and increase their sales. In Ghana, the advertising industry is booming due to the demand from these companies to promote their goods and services. As a result, the demand for advertising materials from the printing industry is on the rise. Millions of outdoor advertising prints for promotion are made from non-biodegradable materials such as the Flex banners and plastics for diverse purposes on a daily basis. Outdoor advertising  media is common  within  livable proximity in urban areas in Ghana. Hoisting of these banners is a regular feature and can sometimes be an excessive activity which has its negative impact on the environment. Flex banners are often disposed of after use by burning or littered around the environment. This emits harmful gasses to the atmosphere and negatively impacts the planet. The improper disposal of these Flex banners after use has become problematic and a perilous phenomenon. This unsafe way of disposal undermines government’s efforts for sustainable waste management and protection of the environment in Ghana. In order to curb this, inspiration was drawn from the 3Rs Concept – Reduce, Re-Use, Re-Cycle as a foundation for eco-friendly up-cycling processes of advertising waste generated from Flex banners. As part of design interventions, used  Flex banners have been up-cycled into other locally manufactured products for use towards achieving a circular economy and promoting environmental sustainability. The project (Up-cycling Flex banners) video is here. Click here to watch the presentation video. 

Keywords: Advertising, Circular Economy, Eco-friendly design, Flex banners, Upcycling, 3R Principles

07. Emerging scenarios for advancing upcycling through cosmopolitan localism to promote sustainability 

Dr Ginn Assibey Bonsu, KNUST, Ghana; and Dr Alettia Chisin, CPUT, South Africa

The detachment of economic growth from environmental challenges has been an active, though challenging, area of endeavour. Various interventions have taken into account the problem involving policymakers in technological and social systems. However, little improvement has occurred. Therefore, we suggest that one approach to tackling this is to promote cosmopolitan localism in the space of design and fine art to reduce environmental challenges. Artists and designers are creative and can leverage these creative abilities in many ways. Thus, we discuss the artists’ and designers’ role in advancing upcycling by showing the role of cosmopolitan localism in the emerging creative scenarios for upcycling waste materials present in the environment into designed artefacts of worth through up-melting, up-sewing and up-storying. Click here to watch the presentation video. 

Keywords: cosmopolitan localism, up-melting, up-sewing and up-storying

08. Kenyan fashion designers’ knowledge, attitude and practice of upcycling

Dr Sophia Njeru, Kirinyaga University, Kenya; and Prof Richie Moalosi, University of Botswana, Botswana 

Globally, fast fashion has led to a dramatic increase in unsustainable production and consumption. The fashion industry’s contribution to Africa’s “solution economy” is small. Nonetheless, the fashion industry is challenged to reduce its largely non-biodegradable solid waste’s negative environmental footprint. Upcycling is a potential solution to recycle and upgrade solid waste and create added value. Upcycling opportunities are vital for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to stay competitive and contribute to sustainability agenda. There is no research regarding Kenya’s fashion industry which addresses upcycling, a creative and economical means to mitigate unsustainable production and consumption. This study’s objective was to analyse Kenya’s fashion designers’ knowledge, attitude and practice concerning upcycling. A descriptive exploratory survey was adopted to study eight fashion SMEs in Kenya. The findings indicate that upcycling in the fashion industry has socio-cultural, economic and environmental benefits aligned with the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 9, 12, 13 and 15, circular and sharing economy. The findings offer valuable lessons on designing interventions that could assist Africa’s fashion designers in making a paradigm shift towards upcycling for sustainable fashion production and consumption in addition to environmental conservation without undermining aesthetics and economic stability. Click here to watch the presentation video. 

Keywords: attitude, fashion design, knowledge, practice, upcycle

09. Roadside eco-entrepreneurship through design and upcycling of wooden packaging pellets

Paulson Letsholo and Dr Yaone Rapitsenyane, University of Botswana, Botswana 

Botswana’s informal (roadside) businesses contribute enormously to social entrepreneurship as they help small businesspeople generate money to sustain their livelihoods and those of their families. These businesses usually use waste materials in the form of mild steel and timber. Timber is generally sourced from used packaging pellets to make furniture such as beds, stools, bedside cabinets and dog kennels. Even though there are no legislative drivers in the form of incentives for reusing packaging pellets or waste as a resource in Botswana, the roadside businesses represent an excellent circular economy case study. Currently, the products are low-grade as there is no value addition to the materials before making the products. The products are designed by doing since processes are usually unpredictable, nor are they documented. The potential in roadside businesses to translate wood packaging pellets into high-value furniture is yet to be exploited through the upcycling process. This can be a conscious intention to use design to support the creation of green businesses through the concept of eco-entrepreneurship. This presentation shows the exploratory investigation into how design can add value to recycled wood packaging pellets used by roadside furniture-making businesses in Gaborone. The presentation reports on a SWOT analysis performed to identify roadside businesses’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Factors identified in the SWOT analysis were then used to show internal and external factors demonstrating the value of design in the businesses. The SWOT analysis explored opportunities for design intervention through a case study. From the case study, it is possible to propose a framework for adding value by design to roadside furniture businesses. This may include adding value to the material before making the products and using design creativity to propose solutions that will result in high-value offerings to the market.

The potential of reusing packaging pellets or waste requires a large and global narrative behind the roadside furniture industry. Some of the main contributions that this research will provide are as follows: (a) approaching the subject of pellets or waste applications from a sustainability point of view, mainly introducing life cycle and eco-efficiency considerations into pellets or waste applications through design intervention; (b) implementing a multidisciplinary Design Action Intervention Approach, its experimentation and analysis within the roadside pellets or waste furniture industry; (c) assessing the generated roadside pellets or waste furniture products through prototyping and early market tests; (d) validating the Eco-Efficient Value Creation (Life-Cycle Analysis based) perspective of the final roadside pellets or waste furniture products and applications; and lastly, (e) disseminating the results of the roadside pellets or waste furniture products to a large audience of professionals and consumers. Click here to watch the presentation video. 

Keywords: Eco-entrepreneurship, packaging pellets, circular economy, roadside businesses, furniture products