“Life is all about perception” is a phrase we often hear when motivated others try to convince us to see the full half of the glass, and not just the negatives. Two inspiring ladies not only saw an alternative perspective, but launched an entire project to turn a crisis into a utility.
The two brilliant product designers, Rania Rafie and Yara Yassin, decided to found Up-fuse in 2015, a social enterprise and brand to recycle the bundles of useless garbage and plastic waste, and create sustainable fashionable bags and accessories.
“In Egypt, we consume a lot of plastic bags, and we have an issue with garbage. Hence, we wondered: why couldn’t we produce products recycled from plastic bags?” Rania says.
According to the UN Environment Organization, 300 million tons of plastic waste is produced every year –almost equivalent to the weight of the entire human population.
They then started launching collections of backpacks, tote bags and different types of products made from plastic waste, in collaboration with the local, non-governmental organization “Roh El Shabab” –Arabic for the soul of the youth, in Manshyet Naser’s Garbage City in Cairo. And later, established their workshop working inside and outside of Egypt.
“So far, we’re working with fourteen women in Manshiyat Naser on the production. We saved up to 60,000 plastic bags from getting thrown away, to turn them into entirely different products,” Rania adds.
Up-fuse depends on locals from garbage collectors, artisans, and designers to the sewers, for their production.
If you visit their website, you’ll probably get caught up with their thoughtful standards. “Behind each item we create stand people who we value and know personally. Up-fuse bags are sustainably produced in our in-house workshop by our talented local sewers.”
Yet, their journey was not at all that simple. For one, the production phase was a struggle for the ladies when they first entered the workshops and had to give orders to the workers about the details and the shapes of the products –not knowing whether they would accept that or not.
Another challenge was how to convince the market and the people to buy a trend constructed out of garbage, and how to make people view the product in a different way.
This concern is definitely nonexistent anymore, as their bags turned into a fashionable trend and not just sustainable products.
With her ongoing success, Rania still had her own definition of femininity.
“Femininity does not necessarily mean I am a girly girl. I can work everywhere and still take care of how I look. It is strength and passion at the same time; to be in control and have a clear opinion,” she illustrated.
To her, success is to have an impact on the people around her through her efforts –and to have a proud family.
Pay a visit to Up-fuse’s Website https://up-fuse.com/shop/. We promise you’ll become fascinated with all their outstanding colorful products as much as we are!