Wee Leng Tay
Founder - Upcircle
Wee Leng

I am the founder of Upcircle, a startup that makes it easy for the community to participate in the circular economy. Upcircle also works with property management companies and grassroots leaders to divert valuable resources from households away from waste streams. As a champion of resource circularity, I leveraged my experience working in tech companies like Apple and Siemens, to launch an app that enables peer-to-peer crowdsourcing of materials. The app successfully grew to 1,200 registered users with more than 100 listed projects within 3 months of launch, enabling more than 1,000 units of items transacted.

Which sustainable actions are you in charge of or have you implemented in your organisation?

I have launched the Upcircle app which establishes a marketplace for recyclable items, kickstarted collections of recyclables and other items from households and set up a thrift shop selling items we have collected.

Which challenges did you meet and how did you overcome them?

My initial encounter with upcycling and recycling started as a personal undertaking to declutter my life. Picking out countless items which I no longer needed but still in great condition, I set out to find where or who I could contribute these items to. But, despite spending hours online, it was difficult for me to find convenient recycling options in Singapore. However, I did come across interesting upcycling options. This experience inspired me to create Upcircle and to feature a collection of upcycling recipes, to serve as a handy resource for low and zero waste enthusiasts.

In this journey, I met different challenges from difficulty in pitching a model for the business to seed funds and grants to a lack of resources for implementing solutions I have designed. In order to pitch the model successfully, I had to think hard on the feasibility of it, conduct trial tests and then present it confidently to the grant managers. To overcome the lack of resources such as the lack of full-time personnel, I had to acquire a wide range of skills myself in order to tackle different parts of running such a start-up.

What are you most proud of?

Starting Upcircle and launching a community app aimed at enabling circularity!

What would be your top 3 pieces of advice to the Matcha Initiative users?
  • identify sustainability problems in the running of the company/business and collect data on it.
  • Communicate with stakeholders within the business as well as external partners in order to solve the problem together effectively.
In which field could you help The Matcha Initiative users as a buddy?
  • Kick Start Help
  • Best Practices sharing
  • Experience Sharing
  • Expertise Sharing
  • Sustainability Career Advisor
Please describe how you could help The Matcha Initiative users as a buddy?

I can help them innovate on existing business processes and access an ecosystem of sustainability players.

Wee Leng's main sustainability skills

Circularity, strategy, community

Wee Leng kindly accepts to answer your questions.

If you need additional insights, you can send her a message.