I participated in a community arts project in Goa for three weeks at Goa University. project involved coming up with a public arts installation on the concept of Utopia Dystopia and the team chose to create a tree of life where one side was created using ceramics and other using waste material. Waste material included anything from broken shoes to plastic bottles to electronic waste and just about anything that you cannot use anymore. I am not too good at it, but I saw my team mates creating brilliant stuff out of waste and that gave me this idea – why can’t some entrepreneurs set up upcycling centers?
Ok, so what do I mean by upcycling centers – These are centers where people can get their waste – primarily inorganic waste that will not go bad, and they can take the help of creative professionals to convert them into usable or may be decorative items. The center can also be a repository of items that can not be used by its current owners but may be useful for creative professionals. These could include recycling old clothes to make something useful from them. Two main components of this business. First would be creative professionals who can get a place and a branded platform to work with and earn livelihood through the use of their craft and skills. Second would be the public who would both be the primary source of raw material as well as customers of the business.
Business model can have some independent revenue streams:
As a service – where consumer walks in with primary raw material and seeks to get it recycled into another product that can be used. I see a lot of recycling happening with old cloths that have infinite possibilities to re-use, but then my creative thinking is pretty limited in this space. They may need some extra material can the creative team can source for them and re-use from their existing stock. Service would come at a price but the price must be less than the cost of procuring what is being produced after recycling.
As a product – The store maintains a collection of products made from recycled stuff that may been sourced from various sources like Scrap yards, raddiwallas, donation drives or anywhere else. These products are sold just like any other retail product. I see a market in corporate buyers who may want to invest in ecologically conscious products.
Workshops – The creative team can have periodic workshops for a fee that allows people to convert participants to convert their own junk into useful stuff.
Renting Space & Tools – There can be designated areas that can be rented out to creative professionals for a period of tiem. This should come with a facility to use the tools and some consumables. My observation says that to create something worthwhile required working with many tools – be it to dismantle stuff or to join them in a creative way. In fact guidance can be provided to use these tools or suggest the appropriate tools ( of course for a compensation)
This may not be wealth creating idea, but I see a lot of potential in doing it as a local business that can very well go into a chain of upcycling centers.