While most 13-year-olds’ lives are spent navigating the social politics of school, hormonal body changes and topsy-turvy romances, Roshni Misra has been hard at work tackling a different kind of teenage issue: the environment.  

“I have always been passionate about doing my part to save the environment,” says the Londoner. “Statistics show that we only have around 14 years to save the planet, meaning that when my generation are adults the planet will be beyond repair if we do nothing. Now more than ever, it is our duty to ourselves to make a change.”

With the numbers speaking for themselves, Roshni was inspired to start Upcycled Me – a sustainable T-shirt brand that exclusively uses recycled plastic bottles and organic recycled cotton alongside eco-friendly dyes. All T-shirts feature hand-drawn illustrations from Roshni and 25% of the brand’s profits are donated to Animal Aid and Sea ChangersKeen to learn all about her passion for making a positive change, we sat down with the philanthropic teen.

What do you hope to achieve with Upcycled Me?

We hope to spread awareness to a greater audience that we can encourage to make their own eco-friendly choices. With every T-shirt that we sell, we will be giving 25% to charities that help the animal featured in the design. In the future, we will be extending our range, which will help to raise money and educate about further issues.

Can you tell us a bit about the various T-shirt designs?
Each hand-drawn design tells a story of the crisis the planet and animals are currently facing. For example, we have a whale design that is very self-explanatory. The whale is blowing a vast amount of plastic waste out of its blowhole. Plastic is an earth-shattering problem worldwide – far too frequently whales and dolphins are being found with their stomachs filled with plastic suffering from starvation.

We also have a design of a goose in a gilet representing the use of down feathers in clothing and bedding. The feathers needed for these are normally taken from young birds and are the feathers closest to the skin, as they are without quills. Sadly, these are plucked from the birds in a very cruel and torturous way, which a lot of people are not aware of.

Who most inspires you?
I am honestly inspired by everyone who is trying to make any change, big or small. From school children who encourage their families to recycle and be mindful of plastic usage, to fashion designers who have pledged to go fur and leather-free, to supermarkets who are minimalising their product packaging – all of these acts have inspired me to start Upcycled Me and make a difference.

What is one bit of advice you'd like to give to everyone to live a more sustainable lifestyle?
There are so many ways that everyone can help and live a more sustainable lifestyle. I would ask everyone to avoid using down products and requesting down-free bedding when checking in to a hotel.

We can also easily reduce our plastic usage. There are so many alternatives out there now which makes adapting our lifestyles much more effortless – from reusable straws and water bottles to taking your own shopping bags with you and avoiding excessive food packaging. Some supermarkets are now using refill stations for certain dry foods and detergents which we should support.

Everyone can do their part. Every small change helps, even if it feels minor to you.

To find out more, follow Upcycled Me on Instagram @upcycledme or head to their website.

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