Koun: when the art of « upcycling » becomes a breeding ground for jobs

Casablanca – Contribution to the circular economy in a creative way, this is the objective of the Moroccan brand “Koun” which owes its success story to upcycling, an eco-concept that is growing in importance in Morocco, to the point of becoming a breeding ground for jobs, in particular for young people in precarious situations.

Unlike recycling, upcycling consists of transforming simple materials into design and fashion products that have more value. Cardboard, paper, bottle caps, laundry cans, video cassettes, or even fabrics, everything can be used to design unique and seductive pieces.

Pots of different colors, designer furniture, cushions, designer lights, wall decoration, pouches, purses, tote bags, backpacks are among others the multiple forms that “upcycled” materials can take in the various workshops of the “Koun” brand. », Which was created in Casablanca by Ressourc’In, a Moroccan social integration enterprise initiated by the Moroccan association Al Ikram-Fondation Valyans.

Equipped with various machines for transforming materials (grinder, extruder, etc.), the Koun workshops (Cardboard, Plastic and Weaving) rely on the know-how, creativity and commitment of the young women and men working there. . They show in their eyes a particular passion for this profession which makes it possible to join the environmental and sustainable dimension to the socio-economic one.

Moreover, nothing is left to chance at “Koun”, since these young people benefit from technical training, personal development sessions, as well as practical internships, before being definitively retained or accompanied until their integration in external.

“Our brand offers an economic opportunity and a job pool for young people in NEET situations (neither in employment, nor in education, nor in training). Through both professional and social support, we give them a second chance to succeed in their lives, “said Nada Diouri, project manager for the Valyans-Association Al Ikram Foundation and manager of Koun Maroc.

This is a new and innovative way of integrating youth that society offers through its artistic professions, she noted, noting that these young people touch at the same time in craftsmanship, in creativity. and recycling.

But well before the work that is carried out at the workshop level, a whole system has been put in place to collect waste from companies and even from certain public establishments.

“We have private and public partners all around Casablanca from whom we collect the sorted waste with our own vehicle,” said Ms. Diouri, noting that this process is subject to a specific schedule.

Moreover, this brand continues to carry out awareness-raising actions among its various partners on selective sorting at source. As soon as they are received, the waste is taken back by the workshop managers for processing.

At the plastic workshop, “we use the laundry cans and bottle caps which are HDPE plastic (High Density Polyethylene, Editor’s note),” observed Ms. Diouri, explaining that this plastic is crushed and then worked in two ways. different, either the compression technique in dedicated furnaces or the extrusion technique which produces the “Koun” luminaires.

In another workshop, she continued, “we shred the paper and cardboard to process them separately, since each gives us a different type (white and kraft).”

At the weaving workshop, “we collect the paper, plastic and fabric which are processed and cut so that they can be used in the loom,” said Ms. Diouri.

Subsequently, she argued, these materials are used to make the end of creation that will be paired with other types of noble materials such as leather and jeans to try to get out of bags, pouches fashion and unique.

“I would like to thank our funders namely, the Drosos Foundation, the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), the United States-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI – Middle East Partnership Initiative). ), the Dutch Embassy in Morocco and the Erasmus + program, which made this project possible, ”said Ms. Diouri.

Committed for several years in the human and social development sector, she did not fail to express her pride in seeing Morocco orient itself more towards green trades, including recycling.

In this regard, Mr. Diouri stressed the need to promote the will to preserve the environment in everyone and not only with companies and the State.

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