Upcycling and Recycling

Words by Sammy Hemmings

This sustainable improvement category in The Tahona Society Collective Spirit’s competition, seeks to refresh your unwanted, give life to the drab, and offer love to the second-hand.

If you have a concept which you think will improve the bar industry, then find out how to enter to earn your place at the Mexico finals to battle it out for the $50,000 prize.

Are you familiar with reduce, reuse, recycle? Well, this category is all for championing that mantra. And where do you start with your concept? It could be about reusing anything that would normally be thrown away or abandoned, turning scrap into art and useful materials for your bar or getting creative with how to use recyclable materials may help you discover your sustainable initiative.

Watch the video above and find some inspiration from the two companies below who strive to recycle and upcycle.

Rise + Win Brewing Co

From deer antler tap handles, to a wall made entirely from scavenged scrap windows, you'll discover in the town of Kamikatsu, Japan, a business with a zero-waste policy.

Rise + Win Brewing Co. is a brewery, BBQ restaurant and general food store which embraces upcycling and recycling. The restaurant and food store are built entirely from recycled materials. The general store offers no packaging or bags for any of their goods. The business asks customers to bring containers instead. They reuse beer bottles and utilise orange peels, always seeking out ways in which to maintain their zero-waste ideology.

Yusuke Hikita, a brewer at Rise + Win, believes their commitment to upcycling and recycling results in a smoothly run business, creating investment opportunities as well. Their principles have made partnerships easier, where they're finding many who admire this zero-waste concept. Yusuke hopes this will one day become a common practice.


Founded in 2013, bio-bean bio-bean is an award-winning clean technology that produces biofuel and biochemicals from recycled coffee grounds. In simple terms, they offer clean fuel from coffee waste.

bio-bean works closely with waste collection management companies to collect used coffee grounds from coffee shop chains, independent cafes and bars, and even Network Rail stations. These partnerships mean that costs for waste going to landfill are reduced, and also give bio-bean the means to recycle.

The coffee ground is then transported to bio-bean's factories. Here, it is processed into fuel logs and pellets. Each Coffee Log, bio-bean's eco heat logs for open fires, stoves and chimeneas, is made from 25 cups of coffee and contains almost 20% more energy than conventional wood logs, meaning they'll burn hotter for longer.

bio-bean are currently researching the production of biodiesel and biochemicals from coffee grounds as well, finding alternatives to fossil fuels which are sustainable. Projects and companies like bio-bean prove that the future can be green and self-sustaining.

Get Involved

Find out how to enter your sustainable improvement concept here. All finalists will be given the opportunity to sharpen their ideas and presentation pitch before going face to face with the judges in Mexico.

In need of a different muse? We've got more tips over on our inspiration page where you can find out more about the five categories of the competition.

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