Upcycling the Rainforest Alliance

Just because the Rainforest Alliance is dead serious about protecting the planet doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. One of our favorite Earth-positive trends is upcycling, the practice of using discarded materials to create something new and fabulous. Good for the environment, good for style—a win-win in our book.

Upcyclers, ranging from art school-trained sculptors to eco-fashionistas, are creating products that make style mavens drool: tote bags made from a ship’s tattered sails, motorcycle jackets patched together from discarded leather scraps and shelves made from planks that once graced the lanes of a bowling alley.

Upcyclers have put their talents to use in developing countries, too. One ingenious designer illuminated dark dwellings in the slums of Manila by wedging chlorinated water-filled bottles through tin or cardboard roofs to let the sunlight in.

Since sustainability is at the very core of everything we do, we especially love these Rainforest Alliance-specific examples* of upcycling from our Instagram community. We’d love to see yours; just tag them with #FollowTheFrog!

1. @alexandraraw upcycled a Rainforest Alliance Certified sticker to decorate her dad’s phone after he complained about the device’s original “stupid, stupid logo.”

Photo credit: @alexandraraw, instagram

2. @apenbird made this lovely rainbow-handled tote out of coffee sacks from a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm.

apenbird instagram photo
Photo credit: @apenbird, instagram

3. @theartisancoffeeroaster upcycled coffee sacks from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms into attractive cafe chairs.

@theartisancoffeeroaster, instagram
Photo credit: @theartisancoffeeroaster, instagram

4. @sophiaperez spotted this stylish, upcycled bag, made from the fabric of a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm’s coffee sack, in Bilbao, Spain.

@sophiaperez, instagram
Photo credit: @sophiaperez, instagram

5. @flavianotebook gave packaging from Rainforest Alliance Certified Flavia hazelnut coffee a new life as this charming notebook.

@flavianotebook, instagram
Photo credit: @flavianotebook, instagram

6. @groundedcoffeeco made this rustic-chic bag from a Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee sack.

@groundedcoffeeco, instagram
Photo credit: @groundedcoffeeco, instagram


*These talented upcyclers created the items pictured above for their personal use. If you intend to sell items made with upcycled materials bearing the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal, please contact us to inquire about licensing: info@ra.org.

People collecting dirty river water

Around the world, 1.3 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day.