Three Uplifting Upcycling Stories

Tree Change Dolls

In 2015, Tasmanian Sonia Singh started a doll company with a difference. Sonia began sourcing discarded dolls (usually Bratz) at op-shops and then giving them a ‘makeunder’ which meant removing heavy make-up, giving the dolls new clothes and repairing when necessary. Each bespoke doll is then sold via online marketplace Etsy.


What started as “a little craft project” has become much more for the former CSIRO scientist. The story of Tree Change Dolls went viral, being picked up by blogs and newsfeeds worldwide. A story on Sonia that appeared on SBS’s ‘The Feed’ has been viewed over 20 million times on YouTube.


All this has meant huge success for the Tree Change Dolls. The latest range of dolls sold out in 5 minutes and the business is now shipping to the US, New Zealand and Germany. The biggest problem now? Keeping up with demand.


Southwest Airlines Soccer Balls

When the US-based Southwest airlines replaced its leather cabin seats with light weight eco-friendly materials, they were left with 43 acres of leather and a chance to do some good with it. Southwest created a recycling program with partners in Kenya that used the seat materials to make soccer balls and shoes for local communities.


As well as creating these much-needed goods, the new initiative also created a number of jobs and apprenticeships in local Kenyan communities.


Since the programs beginning in 2014, 2,100 pairs of shoes, 1,000 soccer balls, and 500 backpacks have been distributed to communities across Kenya.


Adidas x Parley Sneakers

In an effort to raise awareness for World Oceans Day, Adidas recently teamed up with Parley to create a limited edition pair of sneakers made from fishing nets and illegal deep-sea gillnets left dumped in fragile ocean environments.


Originally unveiled in 2015, 50 of these sneakers were recently made available to the public via an online competition and Adidas have plans to integrate ocean waste plastic into a commercial shoe line in the next 12 months.


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