SAIIER 2016:Tetra Pak workshops

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Swadharma semester programme
SAIIER Annual Report 2015-16 icon.jpg

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The Treasure of the Flame Island
Tetra Pak workshops


The purpose of this project was to sensitize the community and more (students from outside Auroville, people visiting Auroville) about upcycling waste material. The Upcycling Studio Auroville has developed a proper way to recycle Tetra Paks. Through this project we shared our experience during 25 workshops and with 134 participants. It is still going on!

Description of project

Upcycling Studio Auroville is an Auroville unit, working with Eco Service and WasteLess, two units working in the same field of waste management.

A Tetra Pak is made of 6 different layers of paper, plastic and aluminium. It is difficult to recycle and generally goes to the landfill.

Through this project we (Ok and Marc) organised workshops for making furniture and interior walls out of Tetra Paks:

  • We conducted 13 half-day workshops on Saturday mornings in our studio at Udavi School, with participants from the Auroville community and others from India and abroad. 18 Aurovilians and 26 non-Aurovilians participated.
  • We organised 3 half-day workshops in our studio with 65 architecture students between December and March. Students were from ANSAL technical campus, Lucknow; Rachana Sansad Institute of Environmental Architecture, Dadar Mumbai; and ITM School of Architecture Arts and Design, Vadodara.
  • We conducted 3 half-day workshops in TLC (The Learning Community) for 10 children, in July 2016.
  • We conducted 4 half-day workshops in Udavi School for 15 students, in March 2016.

We also participated in workshops outside Auroville:

  • Roots Collective, Padum, Zanskar, June 2016
  • Auro University, Surat, Gujarat, July 2016


With the money we received from SAIIER we built 3 big work tables. We purchased 3 extension cables, 200 glue sticks, 20 kg of white glue, 4 cutters and 3 glue guns. With all this in our Udavi workspace we were able to give the workshops. We have upcycled hundreds of Tetra Paks coming from the Auroville community.


The most important thing was to show that waste, when it’s segregated and clean, becomes a material with which you can create; it becomes something with more value. This is the definition of upcycling and the difference between upcycling and recycling. It has to do with deconditioning; it takes some time but it’s part of the new paradigm: “there is no bad, no good, you’ve to do with what is given to you!”


The upcycling studio has to persist! We’ve to show that upcycling is an oportunity given to conscious people to live in a more conscious way. We’ve to learn from other people that are on the same path and to share what we’ve learned from our own experience. We value humility, sincerity and action.