Our Story

Why we do what we do

By re-imagining something that otherwise may have ‘had its day’ – upcycling opens up a world of new possibilities, designs, business opportunities and waste solutions. It’s pretty exciting! And that’s why I set up The Upcycle Movement in 2012.

The first time I really grasped what upcycling means, was in December 2005 when my brother gave me a Christmas present.

It was a bag – but no ordinary bag.

In 2004 the devastating tsunami hit Asia, leaving so many dead and others homeless. My bag was made by widows who had lost everything at that time. It was made from the canvas tsunami rescue tents they sheltered in and had the following message on it:


Those words really moved me and suddenly my bag told me such a story.

And that’s when I got it. That’s when I got what upcycling means.

These incredible women saw value and opportunity in something they no longer needed. Something that could easily have been deemed as waste. But instead, they transformed it, keeping it out of landfill, while also making money to help their community move along.

What inspiring women.
And what a powerful concept.

Since then I started to look at things differently & realise that with just a bit of creativity and imagination, almost everything around us can be a resource for something new.

I see a world of potential in a world of wasted opportunities. 

To landfill, incinerate, dispose, export and even recycle - all cost money and resources to do. They also impact our environment in the process. As does the extraction and processing of raw materials.

And I can't help but think about the age old advice to 'make the most of what you have'. 

Upcycling does just that. 

We have enough.

More than a decade on, I still use that bag. It’s so well made, hardy and super quality. 

What I love most about upcycling can be summed up in that bag: the resourcefulness, the imagination, the value added and created, the innovation, the opportunity identified and the story it holds.

Since my eyes have been opened to the creative world of upcycling, I’ve come across so many innovative, upcycled and sustainable products by environmentally conscious designers who have also hugely inspired me. I'm always looking out for them, and so I really wanted to share my discoveries with you here.

I've realised how much untapped possibilities there are for business opportunity and product design if we look at waste as a resource. And I felt that a platform for the designers and makers who are challenging how we think about waste was needed - to promote what they do and how they think.

I believe 'It's only waste if we waste its potential'. And that now, more than ever, we need to support these innovative, design and business ideas that are offering waste solutions and those which will help to implement a more sustainable, circular economy. There are so many amazing things happening.

They need more support.

Together we can make the world a more sustainable place. We are so incredibly lucky to have such a beautiful planet to call home. Let's keep it that way.


》》Connect with me on LinkedIn here 

Who we are

Passionate about the great outdoors, and about protecting it, Irish Designer, Lynn Haughton founded the multi award winning community organisation 'The Upcycle Movement' in 2012 to promote and inspire the rethinking of what we consider as waste - recognising this as a positive way to keep items out of landfill and contribute to a circular economy. 

On a mission to design solutions to combat textile pollution, Lynn brings back beauty and provides new function to otherwise redundant materials, proving:
'It's only waste if we waste its potential'

Lynn spent some time living on a lake activity centre in Ireland and also living in Australia and became aware of the huge volume of wetsuits that get sent to landfill each year. These can not be recycled and do not biodegrade. To save them from landfill, Lynn set about seeing what else could be done with the material.
The result is the Neo Collection - the debut design range from The Upcycle Movement

Neo Collection - Upcycled Wetsuits

Bags and accessories made from upcycled wetsuits and made for everyday adventures. Handmade with respect for the environment and a passion for a more sustainable world.

Each piece is unique and carries character from its adventurous past. 
Continue the adventure.

NEO - from the word 'neoprene' (the material wetsuits are made from) and neo - meaning 'new' - a nod to the new life of the wetsuits.

10% of this collection goes to Seal Rescue Ireland where Lynn volunteers.


envirocom award winner the upcycle movementirish made awards finalist 2018


Who we have worked with

 airfield estate the upcycle movement   ballyhass lakes the upcycle movement     Design and Crafts Council of Ireland The Upcycle Movement Community Reuse Network Ireland Make Shop Science GallerySon Or Sound healing drum TEDxUWA University LimerickDIT Green Campus

Environmental Protection Agency    Revival Roadshow Electric Picnic   Free Trade Ireland  Circular Ocean   Grow Dome Project  IT Carlow  Wild Adventure WayChristchurch Dublin Garden FestivalMidlands Simon Community Body Shop Ireland RTE Today  



What is upcycling?

What is upcycling the upcycle movement