From inner tube wallets, handbags and necklaces to construction net wash bags, Paguro products incorporate a wide range of reclaimed, recycled and repurposed materials. Meet Yen Goo, the creator of paguroupcycle.com

Innovative, imaginative, practical, beautiful and eco-friendly are just a few of the qualities Paguro Upcycle products have to offer to the conscious consumer. Yen Goo, the brains behind Paguro Upcycle, brings together and showcases for us a collection of the world’s finest upcycled products, focusing on quality craftsmanship and contemporary design. Yen and her team collaborate with producers and designers who share their desire to create positive social and environmental change.

I talked with Yen about Paguro, the inner tube products that look and feel like leather and why we should choose upcycled/recycled products.

How did you come up with the idea of Paguroupcycle?

“I was always interested in fashion, but I had become disillusioned with what I saw on the high street. Copious chain stores offering fast fashion and a throwaway culture to match. I found it hard to find many stores that offered products that were unique, individual and good quality.
During my sabbatical, I came across a designer whilst travelling in South East Asia whose mission was to create ethical bags and accessories using repurposed and recycled materials. What made these products so special to me was the imaginative way in which the materials had been reinvented and the positive impact that their creation was having on the local community.
I also noticed that many craftspeople lacked direction in promoting their products and making the products contemporary and appealing to the Western market and that’s how Paguro Upcycle was born! 

Through Paguro, I aim to showcase the quality of their craftsmanship and the individuality of their designs to a wider audience.  I like to see Paguro used as a platform that tells the story of the designers, supports their environmental or social vision and guides them in developing appealing and contemporary products.”

Why should we choose upcycled/recycled products?

“We appreciate that it would be far easier to create something out of new materials, but it requests far more creativity and skill to create great upcycled products that don’t appear in the first instance to be made from recycled materials.

Not only does the use of reclaimed materials have environmental benefits, but our designer/makers thrive on the challenge of using these more difficult materials in desirable and elegant ways. There is far too much fast fashion in the market and it is important that we pay greater respect to the world’s natural resources.” 

How important to the success of the brand are the artisans, the designers and your team?

“The designer/makers are the key people in the whole concept of Paguro Upcycle. Without their passion, creativity and the quality of their craftsmanship, we wouldn’t have the impressive product range that we have today. They share our vision for producing high-quality products and finish each item to the highest standards. Together we hope to change the perspective of some consumers that upcycled and ethical products are inferior in quality.”

What challenges you face with regards to the consumers and the demand?

“Some consumers struggle with the pricing of the products. They instinctively think that products made from recycled products should be cheaper than equivalent products made from new materials.

Whilst the raw material itself may be inexpensive, the products are handmade to a high standard which requires time and a considerable level of skill and energy. Whilst we endeavour to make the products as affordable as possible, it is essential to us that the designer/makers are paid a fair price for their craftsmanship.”

Where do you see Paguro Upcycle in the future?

“We are aiming to get our products into more well-known galleries, museums and also independent stores in the UK and around the World. We would like our website to be a platform that is widely known as the home of quality upcycled products and the first stop for consumers when looking for quality upcycled, fashion accessories.” 


You can find more about Paguro Upcycle on their website: paguroupcycle.com 
On social media: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter @paguroupcycle

Stockists:  https://paguroupcycle.com/our-stockists/
Finally, you can check out their upcoming events page for an event near you: https://paguroupcycle.com/category/events/

 

 

 

 

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10 Less Waste And Eco-Friendly Swaps

Why is reducing waste important?

Not only does it cost a lot of money, energy and natural resources to manufacture and transport new products, it also costs a great deal to process these products as waste once we’re done with them. The more rubbish we put in the ground, the more our landfills release toxic gases and substances that contribute to climate change, can kill plants and animals and contaminate our water supplies.

Making small changes in our everyday lifestyle choices can make a powerful difference to the health of all living things and our planet.
Below I share a few environmentally friendly swaps that help me to reduce my household waste. My family consists of two adults and three young children so even eliminating just the shampoo and shower gel bottles from our bathrooms made a considerable difference in the amount of waste we create.

My 10 less waste swaps

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  1. A good selection of cloth shopping bags is always handy. I currently have three in my handbag one of which I use as a wash bag for all my bits and bobs (which doubles as an extra bag if I need it). It is so easy to swap between handbags as I only have to throw in my cloth bags and go!20180301_144614
  2. Swap plastic straws with reusable ones that you can also carry in your handbag for when you are out and about. Also, I carry with me a set of cutlery for every member of the family so that I won’t have to use the plastic ones.ED_fruits
  3. I try to shop for unpackaged fruit and veg (and adjust my cooking to whatever produce I can source each time). I have now subscribed to receive a 100% UK organic vegetable box which includes seasonal (unpackaged most of the times) & locally sourced produce.
    Local markets and farm shops are also an alternative option.
    Bulk produce shops where you can shop using your own containers.
    Another great home box subscription company (if you live in London) is the oddbox.co.uk. They deliver all the wonky vegetables and fruits that producers throw away because they don’t look perfect for the grocery shops.
    Bulk buy packaged items such as pasta, rice and flour (I make my own bread). Obviously, when I can’t avoid packaging I look for items in recyclable/reusable containers.
    Use the supermarkets’ fresh produce counter instead of buying the packaged food in the fridge isles (try asking them to use your own containers).
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  4. Say no to one use plastic coffee cups and use your own travel mug instead. I love my KeepCup cork edition and I use it all the time. Also, I don’t buy bottled water, fizzy drinks, squash or any other drinks in plastic bottles.20180301_114139
  5. Replace the liquid hand soap, shampoo & body wash for a soap bar. There are plenty of choices for soaps with natural ingredients that are good for our skin and the environment. This is a big one as the plastic containers in which these products come in are mostly non-recyclable! A couple of websites for soap bars, noplasticshop etsy.20180301_114610
  6. Empty glass jars can be used to store your food instead of using plastic containers. Also, Tiffin stainless steel containers are ideal for pack lunches and snacks. I now use my plastic containers only to store non-food items.20180301_141710
  7. I have replaced my water bottle (and my children’s) with a stainless steel one. It keeps my water cool and healthy. I prefer to use this instead of any other type of plastic bottle even if it is BPA free. You may not be aware but BPA can also be found in canned goods, receipts and tickets printed on thermal paper, dental sealants, plastic wrap (cling film), one use paper cups, plastic food containers and some kitchen utensils.20180301_131105
  8. Also, I do not use cling film anymore but instead I use glass containers with lids or cloth dish covers (have a look on etsy for some great cotton options).
    I avoid foil by cooking in ovenproof dishes.
    Another great swap is making kitchen cloths out of old cotton shirts or towels and use them instead of kitchen paper.20180301_114856
  9. I no longer use kitchen scourer sponges but I replaced them with wooden or bamboo pot scrubbing brushes. For cleaning the surfaces I do not buy kitchen cleaning products but I make my own. This is an easy one to make: mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water for an all-purpose spray cleaner (with the addition of a few drops of essential oils to tackle the strong vinegar smell).
  10. Finally, I always try to find second-hand items before I buy new. A few website suggestions: ebay, FaceBook, freecycle,
    nextdoor, secondhand.org.uk, vestiairecollective  (designer fashion) , ThredUp (clothing/accessories), oxfam.org.uk/shop/,  preloved.co.uk.

However difficult the less waste/plastic free lifestyle may be for our fast pacing lives,  every little step really counts towards maintaining the integrity of our planet.  It is all about resetting our mindset to think before we consume.
I still buy products that are in plastic containers (vegan yogurts and most of the vegan cheese) and I am still working on cutting down waste and buy less, in so many other aspects of my life.

Nevertheless, considering the whole point of zero waste living is to consume less, make more of your own, use what you already have and repair what is broken – I am happy to give it a try.

What are your thoughts about the less waste movement? What are you struggling with to cut down the most?


(Please note that affiliate links are marked with *)

Zero waste produce shops

TheZeroWasteShop 101 High Street, Devon TQ9 5PF
Hetu  201 St. Johns Hill, London SW11 1TH
Wholefoods Market Different locations

Products mentioned in the blog

Cloth Tote Bags*
Reusable Straws*
KeepCup*
Tiffin*
KleenKanteen*
Pot scrub brush*