Join the Trashure Campaign!

April 2, 2012, 6:49 pm
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Upcycling workshop in Oaxaca. Building a dry toilet from PET.

The Upcycling Initiative Oaxaca is starting an exciting new partnership with the Kaospilots program in Denmark. Five amazing students are coming to Oaxaca to help us determine the viability of the Upcycling Initiative moving to the next level in the small community of San Sebastián Teitipac. We are raising some funds to support the collaboration. Please support our Indiegogo fundraising campaign to help this collaboration happen! Click here to see the awesome campaign page and SPREAD THE WORD! Click here to see the video!

Here's some more info:

Our Story:

Turning trash into treasure (Trashure!) is our mission. Waste is the most abundant resource available on the planet. It literally is everywhere. How can we make use of it and create value for everyone involved?

Every day, people everywhere churn out mountains of plastic and non-biodegradable waste which threaten to eclipse our living spaces. Modern attitudes around waste and our general lack of awareness about the amount of trash we produce indicate the desperate need for an innovative new approach to this issue. Upcycling, the practice of converting waste materials into products of greater value, is a philosophy that transforms the way we conceive of waste. Upcycling is not just a solution to a problem, but a new method of thinking about and working with an asset (formerly known as garbage) which is already present in abundance in our communities.

We, Sergio (MXN) and Aerin (USA) will start up a social enterprise in Oaxaca, Mexico to offer individuals and communities tangible, simple ways of transforming their own waste into products of greater value.  We envision the development of learning centers—physical spaces— for innovation related to the creative re-use of waste, where practitioners can share knowledge, skills, tools and material. We also want to revive the recycling centers where neighbors can collect and sell separated and clean waste materials (a common practice in Mexico).  This will provide an economic incentive for participation in communities and create jobs immediately after launch. The next step for us make this dream reality is to create an open source business plan strategy - free for everyone to use anywhere in the world.  

We want to assess the feasibility of the idea to pilot our plan in the community of San Sebastián Teitepac, a rural community about 35 minutes from the capital city of Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico. Here, many individuals and families have already been taking responsibility for their own garbage. Our dream is to create an open source business plan that can be scaled across the world.  

Who will create this business plan?
5 international students from the Kaospilot in Denmark. The Kaospilots break out of the conventional educational model and have been described as one of the most successfull and innovative schools in the world for social entrepreneurs and leaders.  During the months of May and June this year (which means ASAP!) we will together create an open source business model for the Upcycling Initiative Oaxaca. We have been working with upcycling for several years in collaboration with The Berkana Institute and more recently with the HUB Oaxaca. Aerin and Sergo, as the innovators of the Upcycling Initiative have the connections, roots and local knowledge of Oaxaca, as well as an intimate understanding of the theory and practice of upcycling. The Kaospilot students bring the start-up business knowledge and catalyzing energy to manifest this dream into a grounded reality. Together we amplify and share the passion for this project.

What's needed?
Yes, we need the 5 Kaospilots to get to Mexico first. Let’s get the ball rolling! In order for us to launch this open source business plan, we must crowdfund 5500 $ to cover travel costs (5 flight tickets 1000 $ each + indiegogo fee to wire the funds into our account ). We will be collaborating closely with the community of San Sebastián Teitepac. We are minimizing all other costs for accommodation of the Kaospilots through tapping into our existing networks. All funds raised above our stated goal will go straight to the Upcycling Initiative Oaxaca to enhance the seedfund to start up the business with the community.

What do you get?
You are awesome! In return for your contribution, you will be recognized and thanked for your help by being mentioned as a Co-Producer in the open source Business Plan! Additionally, depending on the amount of your contribution, you will be able to receive the other exciting perks listed on the sidebar (which also includes getting some Kaospilots tending to your own idea).  

The Impact:
It is important to create the conditions for the upcycling movement to spread. Starting locally, with a grounded community interested in changing the way they relate to their waste, is one way to develop a project that is practical, tangible, financially feasible, serves a real need and has the possibility of spreading to other places. The Business plan will include:


  1. to create a foundation to initiate an upcycling workshop in the community of San Sebastián Teitepac
  2. to conduct an analysis of the feasibility of re-opening the recycling center (that was closed down recently) next to the upcycling workshop
  3. to outline steps and leverage points of how this model can spread to other communities (regionally, nationally and internationally)

It all comes down to: WE NEED YOU.

Fundraising is not only about raising money, but it is about building community around a cause.
You can support us turning trash into treasure by passing this along to whoever it might inspire. Likewise please connect us with other upcyclers and individuals, businesses and communities who are as passionate about upcycling as we are. We are looking for many collaborations along the way. 




Dunford, A. (2012). Join the Trashure Campaign!. Retrieved from

1 Comment

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Jose Luis Gutierrez-Garcia wrote: 05-09-2012 11:04:37

I found out about your indiegogo campaign too late. Hopefully you can start one in Kickstarter for the remaining money you need to raise. I am working on the notion that the problem of floating plastic-waste on the ocean currents represents a business opportunity for upcycling plastic-to-fuel. To that end, I am starting the Upcycle the Gyres Society (UGS) based in Vancouver, Canada and recently launched a crowd funding campaign at: Hopefully it is a complementary to your ideas and maybe we get to collaborate. Greetings, Jose Luis