Search Report
2022 Sustainability Report
published 2023/08/01

Upcycling – we prevent valuable materials from being thrown away

In every company, in every production facility, waste is created. But not everything that ends up in the waste bin is really waste. We are convinced that with a bit of creative thinking, this alleged waste can be turned into a valuable new resource for creating new unique items. This is why we are in the process of creating an Upcycling Manufaktur program to keep our residual materials from ending up in landfill sites.

Upcycled by VAUDE: What's it all about?

eBay Upcycling Store

In cooperation with eBay, we developed a concept for an upcycling store in 2019 for auctioning off residual materials from textile production. eBay provides the necessary platform and VAUDE provides the necessary fabrics and materials.

The proceeds are donated to Save the Children or Deutsche Umwelthilfe. In March 2020 the eBay-Upcycling Store went online. Since then, do-it-yourself fans have been able to bid on various residual materials and use them to make bags, wallets or other creative items.

The goal is to motivate as many companies as possible to also offer their remnants in order to protect valuable materials from the waste bin.

We were able to gain another partner with Sympatex and expand our range in the Upcycling Store. Sympatex develops, produces and distributes membranes, laminates and functional textiles as well as finished products together with selected partners worldwide. You can now buy a selection of these valuable leftover materials in our store.

Also participating are KAYA&KATO - a young textile manufacturing company that produces transparent and sustainable workwear for the hotel, restaurant, retail and care industries. In the eBay Upcycling Store, leftover materials from production are now being auctioned off so that they can be made into something new. The entire proceeds will go to Deutsche Umwelthilfe.

We are currently in contact with eBay and other interested companies from the textile industry and are optimistic that we will soon be able to expand our selection of materials.

Check out the eBay Upcycling Store here

Throwing away is wasteful: The VAUDE Upcycling Workshop

Upcycling has now become firmly established within our company. That's why we have a permanent upcycling workshop. Founded in 2016 as part of a pilot project with refugees and supported by the German Federal Environmental Foundation, it is now an integral part of our headquarters in Obereisenbach. Remnant materials, such as those generated in our manufacturing process for backpacks, waterproof bike bags, and other areas of the company, are not discarded but rather utilized. This results in genuinely unique pieces, such as two different-sized shopper bags, which have been available in VAUDE stores and outlets since 2018.
The VAUDE Upcycling Workshop originated in 2016 from a pilot project with refugees. Image: VAUDE
The VAUDE Upcycling Workshop originated in 2016 from a pilot project with refugees. Image: VAUDE

Another very practical product made from remnant materials includes about 5,000 leg protectors for cycling, produced in Obereisenbach from remnants of tarpaulins in 2022. They keep the leg of your pants from coming into contact with your bike chain while riding. No oil or dirt stains on your pant leg means less washing and less damage, which is better for the environment.

Furthermore, the upcycling workshop creates practical small bags for a sewing kit for our cooperation partner iFixit (you can read more about the issue of repairing rather than throwing things away here) or as Christmas gifts for employees.

Claudia Reimann is responsible for patterning and production in the Upcycling Workshop. Image: VAUDE
Claudia Reimann is responsible for patterning and production in the Upcycling Workshop. Image: VAUDE

Upcycling integrated throughout the company

In addition to our sewers, employees from the design, product management, engineering, and business development departments are also part of our upcycling team. This ensures that the numerous opportunities for upcycling are integrated throughout the entire company and can be fully utilized. For example, the shipping bags for our new VAUDE Rent rental service come from our in-house upcycling. The banners needed by the sales team for sales meetings are turned into practical bags. And anything that the Upcycling Workshop team can't use itself, such as when the quantities are too small, is sold through the eBay Upcycling Store, with the proceeds benefiting Save the Children.

VAUDE Stores are also involved in upcycling

VAUDE stores also participate in upcycling. Instead of disposing of old shop window banners, they are made available to DIY enthusiasts for a small fee. These banners can then be transformed at home into bags, picnic blankets, or beautiful gift packaging!


Upcycling-bags made from Zeppelin fabric

Since 2018 we have also been producing upcycled shopping bags and backpacks for the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei as part of a pilot project – using the outer shell of a decommissioned Zeppelin NT. Instead of disposing with this old shell, beautiful souvenirs are being created so that since the summer of 2018, fans of this famous airship have been able to buy these unique bags and packs from the Zeppelin shop in Friedrichshafen or online in the fan shop.

VAUDE Zeppelin Products

DAV upcycling cooperation

Together with our partner DAV we implemented upcycling products in 2019. The DAV provided us with old banner material which we turned into unique backpacks and shoulder bags in our Upcycling workshop. Edelrid also took part in the project and contributed rope remnants for the straps. The products were raffled off at various DAV events.

In 2020, we implemented another order for a planned DAV event. This involved shoulder bags made from old banner material and rope remnants.

Upcycling Community

After establishing our Upcycling Workshop, we took a second step in 2018 and created an external upcycling community and material exchange together with other companies, schools and creative artists. Our goal is to create a platform that companies can use to make valuable residual materials available for upcycling projects. "Upcyclers" can then use these materials for their products and launch their projects onto the market.

Find out more about the community here

Roterfaden Pocket Companion made from used tent fabric

Used tent fabrics from VAUDE tents that couldn't be repaired at our Repair Service get a new life as a pocket companion from Roterfaden.


These innovative products are 100 % handmade in Germany.
Find the pocket companion with used VAUDE tent fabrics here.

Joint projects with schools and universities

We have provided numerous art colleges with materials from a discontinued line of tent flies for their creative work.

For several years we have worked with students from the Technisches Gymnasium Ravensburg on the development of a sustainable business model within the framework of the project “Umweltprofis von morgen” (Environmental champions of tomorrow). In 2016 and 2017 students came up with ideas for upcycling VAUDE material remnants. Read more here

In 2016, four students used recycled advertising banners and returned products that couldn't be repaired by our service department, and turned them into new bags that could be used as pencil cases or for cosmetics.

Nachhaltigkeit auf die Tasche gebracht

In 2017 another group of students designed a headphone case using remnant materials from our Manufaktur.

More upcycling projects

A Belgian school made costumes for a dance performance from VAUDE material remnants.

Costumes for a dance performance made from VAUDE material remnants.
Costumes for a dance performance made from VAUDE material remnants.

Bags made from VAUDE material remnants by a Catholic relief organization in Kralup by Moldau, Czech Republic


Gaiters made from VAUDE material remnants by a Catholic relief organization in Kralup by Moldau, Czech Republic


Material remnants from our producers can also be used to make useful items such as curtains for the dressing rooms in our VAUDE stores.

New products from production remnants

Material remnants also accrue in the production facilities that we subcontract to. When we have large amounts of remnants, we can use them to produce special one-off product models. Our producers use smaller leftover quantities for the training of new employees or training purposes.

We also rely on upcycling from leftovers in the outfitting of our VAUDE Stores. For example, the curtains for the changing rooms are made out of leftover Packs 'n Bags materials. The clothes hanger labels for our sale items are also made from remnant materials.

Changing room curtain in the VAUDE store made from material remnants

Unfortunately, we still don't have a recycling option for smaller remnant amounts. This generally comes with significant effort and costs (such as those due to customs regulations) when processing them or bringing them to our headquarters. Now that we have established our internal upcycling structure and the material exchange, we want to devote ourselves more intensively to this issue in the future.

Upcycling vs. Downcycling

Currently about 82 % of waste in Germany is recycled*. Recycling waste means that the raw materials and energy are put back into the commercial cycle. The most common form of this recycling is the combustion of waste to produce energy. High quality waste is transformed into a lower quality product.** For this reason such processes are known as downcycling.

There are also more sustainable and more effective ways to re-use this waste than in elaborate downcycling processes. The idea is to create new products from waste that are equivalent or higher in value than the materials used. The transformation of “useless” waste into new items is known as upcycling.



GRI:   301-2
Recycled input materials used
Save the Children
(in German) Read more
Deutsche Umwelthilfe
Read more
eBay Upcycling Store
(German) Read more
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