Participants in the EU project StartUpcycling unite the vision that upcycling can be a means for effective environmental protection as well as a valuable learning, opportunity for young entrepreneurs worldwide. The youth workers from the seven partner organisations met in India in early September to develop the educational outcomes further.
The 21 start-up pioneers continued their work on an e-course in South India. The team of Eco Designers, experts in the field of waste management, as well as social workers, create lessons on the topics of waste and recycling as well as on Social Green Entrepreneurship & Eco Design. In this very unique international constellation - coming from different European countries as well as Brazil, South Africa and India - the participants were able to exchange start-ups from all over the world with Upcycling and to gather new inspiration for their own youth work at a local level.
The StartUpcycling meeting took place in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu in Auroville, a place that is a model for sustainable change. The settlement today manages to keep 80% of its waste out of nature and to redistribute it for recycling or reuse, depending on the substance. The settlement was launched by supporters of the Peace Movement in the 1970s in a complete desert. Today, a tropical forest with a huge diversity of species is flourishing in Auroville.
Upcycling is also visible in many projects of the settlement: a small paper factory, Auroville Papers, develops paper with fibres of various plants and creates book bindings as well as solid furniture. Since the beginnings of Auroville, the so-called "Trash Mahal" has organized a student exchange for architects who build houses from surplus raw materials. And the start-up "EcoFemme" not only develops ecological cotton sanitary pads for women, but also engages in educating young women outside and inside schools about their health and their bodies.
The next phase of international cooperation involves further workshops and trainings with young people in the countries of the participants. The creation of new networks and the development of an online course for new start-ups with upcycling are also an objective. After that, in March next year, all delegates will meet for the third and last time in South Africa.