Brands unveil creative upcycling initiatives

As revealed in our Impact Report, nearly nine in 10 young people in the U.S. consider eco-friendliness to be an important factor when evaluating which brands to purchase. Given this expectation, brands across categories, from fashion to food and beverages, are increasingly devising inventive ways to curb waste by turning it into new products through creative upcycling initiatives.


At the London Design Festival this past fall, Starbucks UK, in partnership with furniture startup Pentatonic, unveiled an upcycled version of its iconic bean chair made from its leftover plastic. All parts of the chair, including the frame, legs, cushioning and, upholstery, were once the coffee chain’s plastic bottles and cups. In the company’s ongoing effort to decrease its environmental footprint through innovative store design, Starbucks UK will introduce the eco-friendly chairs in its cafes, beginning with locations in Central London.


As part of its effort to be a zero-waste company, Jaguar Land Rover has partnered with SkunkWorks Surf Co., a surf company aimed at minimizing environmental impact, to produce surfboards and paddleboards made from leftover materials from its car design process. Through the Waste to Wave initiative, plastic foam from early clay design car models were given a second life. Last year, Jaguar reworked and reused approximately 18.5 tonnes of recycled clay that would have otherwise been discarded if it weren’t for this upcycling effort.


To help with the fight against marine pollution, Volvo is releasing a special version of its V90 Cross Country Ocean Race with interiors made from ocean waste. The car’s fabric inlays are made from 100% recycled nylon taken from discarded fishing nets, and a portion of the sales will help fund science programs that monitor the health of the seas. The auto giant will release 3,000 of these vehicles beginning in Spring 2018, with initial production sold in 30 markets.