Inspired by waste at Nairobi Design Week 2023

Transforming waste into beauty not only reduces waste, but encourages creativity and innovation. Nairobi Design Week 2023 showcased sustainability designs created through upcycling and recycling waste


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As concerns about climate change and sustainability continue to grow, people are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a cleaner environment. Upcycling and recycling are two popular ways of repurposing waste and transforming it into useful and beautiful designs.

Textile waste is a major contributor to landfill waste, but upcycling and recycling can help reduce the amount of waste generated by the fashion industry.

Africa Collect Textiles are doing exactly that, upcycling disposed, old or unused demim clothes and turning them into products such as carpets, bags or accessories. Through their collection bins around Nairobi they are able to process, break down old textiles to create new fibers, which can be used to make these products.

Glass bottles are another common item that can be repurposed. Moko Maya's exhibit showed how practical and beautiful pieces can be achieved and transformed into stylish decor item for your home from using an upcycled vase or a lamp, or use beer bottles to create glasses.

Transforming waste into beauty not only helps reduce waste, but also encourages creativity and innovation. By seeing waste as a resource, we can find new ways to use it and reduce our impact on the environment.

JJ Matatu, (Maurice Njoroge) mini matatus and buses exhibited were made from recycled PET bottles, sold as children's toys to encourage them to be environmentally conscious while showing the matatu culture through music, graffiti, and lighting incorporated into his design.

The Flip Flopi exhibit displayed beautiful hand crafted, culturally inspired, sturdy furniture made from plastic collected on the shores of our beaches, giving plastic waste a second life while Mo sense creations exhibited their art made from recycled waste materials from restaurants and litter bins, into beautiful upcycled tin cans recreated into bees and fish among other designs made by street boys in Nairobi.

Greenthing.Kenya exhibit displayed what a wide range of products is capable of by provoking people’s minds about what they use daily, something as simple as a toothbrush and its impact in the environment.

Nairobi Design Week 2023 inspired conscious choices by highlighting the value of reusing and repurposing. By choosing upcycled or recycled products, we can support sustainable practices and reduce waste inspiring others to do the same, creating a positive ripple effect that benefits the planet and our communities.