Benjamin Shear, an 11-year-old Kings College student, originally came up with the idea to upcycle clothes as a school project. Ben’s UpCycle initiative, upcycle.one, has swiftly evolved into an innovative online marketplace for upcycled clothing with all proceeds raised supporting the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF).
Shear shared that his inspiration for this initiative came from learning about the severe negative impacts of clothing waste. “When I studied the effects of fashion on the environment and our oceans I was truly shocked at the devastation that textiles cause. I wanted to use my passion for technology to help create a way to promote sustainability in our community. Aligning myself with BREEF seemed like a natural choice,” he said.
UpCycling is defined as repurposing materials, such as clothing and shoes, which would have otherwise been thrown in the trash, contributing to more waste. The initiative actively encourages individuals to make sustainable choices in their clothing. Instead of continuously purchasing new clothing, people can declutter their closets, find local lightly-used clothing, or both.
UpCycle customers may donate children’s clothing, or shop at UpCycle.one for gently used clothing. All proceeds from each purchase is donated to The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF). BREEF is an organisation established in 1993 to address threats to The Bahamian marine environment, and was recently recognised as National Youth Organisation of the Year.
BREEF Executive Director, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert noted: “I’m so impressed how Ben has transformed a school project into meaningful action for conservation and sustainability.”
Young entrepreneur Benjamin Shear has committed to allocating funds raised from UpCycle to marine conservation because he recognizes The Bahamas’ heavy reliance on the ocean for economic, cultural, and various aspects of livelihood and well-being.
“My hope is not only to raise money for the organisation,” Shear said, “but I hope that by giving these clothes new life, we will aid in decreasing the amount of items that pollute our oceans and encourage people to shop sustainably”.
To learn more about UpCycle please visit upcycle.one and for information on how you can support more of BREEF’s marine conservation initiatives, please visit www.breef.org.