The ReCreators logo - XLabs Upcycling case study

Creating a platform for redesigning waste into valuable retail

Well known in their communities, The ReCreators explored how they might create a digital platform that turns wasted resources into renewed retail.

‘Revive’ by The ReCreators is their XLabs solution – a digital platform that connects recovered resources and materials with designers, makers and retailers. Together, turning valuable resources into low carbon products with more social, environmental and economic benefits.

CBD methods:
Embedded intelligence
Networked participation
Circular Business Model
Waste reduction
Carbon emissions
Living wage / Local employment

The Team:
Geraldine Tew, Buffie Mawhinney, Melanie Kit
In support with Circularity

The Challenge ­–

We all must face the enormity of the waste we consume and throw away every day. It’s becoming more evident that despite recycling, waste collections and funding, our waste is simply not going away. In fact, it often feels like our systems are broken and the problem is still growing. But the root of our waste problem lies in the stories we tell ourselves. The truth is… waste doesn’t exist. There is only wasted value. Materials, resources and creativity that go unused or underutilized.

In our fast-paced society, we have lost connection to the valuable skills of re-imagining and re-creating from finite resources. But we know businesses are seeking to reduce their footprint... And we know consumers are seeking to make more impact with their purchases... And that we already have the skills and expertise in our communities to do more... So how can we connect these in a valuable way? 

The Re-Creator’s vision is to see items made of upcycled materials become part of our mainstream retail experiences. This is what led them to XLabs, to explore how they might connect with other retailers, manufacturers and makers to create scalable demand for a circular economy here in New Zealand. 

The challenge The ReCreators brought to the lab was -  
“How might we significantly reduce our waste to landfill while at the same time creating valuable products from discarded resources and local employment in New Zealand?”

XLabs sign saying Team The Re-creators at circular economy lab
3 members of The-Recreators at XLabs Circular Design Sprint

The Journey ­–

By exploring the Circular by Design methods of Networked Participation, Embedded Intelligence and Circular Business Models, they found there was an opportunity to bring together a community of businesses, retailers and makers.

One that could enable the valuable exchange of recovered resources, skilled expertise and retail potential – connecting local craft with local economy. One that could be scaled through the ‘network effect’ of platforms where the community grew together in impact and opportunity.

The Solution ­–

Revive by The ReCreators is their solution. It is a digital platform that connects businesses with recovered resources and materials, to product designers, makers and retailers.

On the Revive platform; as a business you can offer the excess materials or resources you have available, and as a maker you can work with these resources and our design kits to create desirable products.

Imagine that a retailer can also upload their unsold products to the platform, connecting with makers to re-create new items from these, and then bring them back into their stores to create new value.

Retailers and makers can ‘buy’ the designs from anywhere in the world to recover and restore value from their materials that would otherwise go to landfill. Then sell these ‘remade’ products back into retail environments and change the conversation in the very place people are purchasing new items made from finite materials. 

“Together we will turn a wasted conversation into one of real value – significantly reduce the amount of resources sent to landfill by re-creating products in collaboration with local crafters, shapers and retailers.” The ReCreators

Wooden tags with Circularity logo upcycled by The Re-creators

The Ambition ­–

Their ambition is to access the potential of 30% unused, wasted resource into valuable products onto the Revive platform by 2040.

This will significantly reduce the amount of resources sent to landfill by re-creating products in collaboration with local crafters, shapers and retailers. They will measure this by quantifying the recovered materials we use, the retailers we engage with and the subsequent impact on our environment, our society and our economy.  

Together we can create Revive, a platform designed to enable local, decentralised economies and employment across Aotearoa to thrive. 

Next Steps ­–

Circularity is proud to support The Recreators to make this platform a reality. We are currently seeking funding to build a prototype and bring these communities together for the first time. Meanwhile The ReCreators is getting on with building the skills in our maker and designers communities to ‘remake’ desirable products from recovered materials.