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This student-run glassware start-up is helping Vancouver take another step in sustainability

Discarded glass bottles from local restaurants and bars get a second life.

This Vancouver-based, student-run start-up is helping locals take a new step toward sustainability.

Mosa, which collects discarded glass bottles and upcycles them into drinking glasses and home accessories, began with a house party. 

UBC student Abhiudai Mishra was cleaning up beer and wine bottles after a fun night with peers when one of the bottles fell and shattered on the floor. Tossing the glass shards into the trashcan, he wondered "Where does this go after the bottle is broken?"

A little research led to an unsettling fact: broken glass is one of the reasons that 77 per cent of glass bottles end up in landfills rather than being recycled.

After months of brainstorming ways to divert glass bottles from landfills, Mishra and co-founder Prishita Agarwal stumbled across some YouTube tutorials on cutting glass. 

"We used to sit in my apartment, five to six hours a day, trying to figure out how exactly we can cut these bottles and make something out of them," he tells Vancouver Is Awesome. They tried everything to cut through the glass, from a lighter to ice.

Finally, they made a couple of glasses and candles and toured them around local restaurants and friend groups to see if they liked them. "It turns out that people were really enjoying it," says Mishra. "They like the product. They like the process. They love the story." 

So they turned it into something big. 

Rescued Glass YVR

A few upcycled glass bottles later, Mishra and his co-founder brought a few peers on board. Within the company, they like to jokingly call themselves "climate changers," he notes. 

The students wanted to get their start-up off the ground as soon as possible so they gave it the name Rescued Glass YVR.

They comb through beach cleanups, local restaurants and bars, and other locations to collect glass bottles and repurpose them in their micro-factory. The result is a unique, sustainable collection of candles, platters, lights, drinking and shot glasses. 

Vancouverites became fascinated with the concept and the start-up continued to grow. 

Becoming Mosa

"How do we make sure that we lower the barrier of people's first sustainable step as much as we can?" asks team member Michael Jin on the brand's ongoing goal. 

To help connect better with Vancouverites, the start-up is getting a makeover and is doffing its original name. 

No longer Rescued Glass YVR, the sustainable, student-run brand is now called Mosa. The name is a nod to the house party that started it all. 

"In those house parties the alcohol that we were drinking was Mosa," says Mishra. "The name really helps us when we are thinking about larger conversations."

The start-up's new name keeps its founders' vision clear about the future of the brand, from new products to sustainable practices. "It's always important that you remember where you're coming from and where the process of this entire idea even started," says Mishra. 

Mosa's story seems to inspire people as well, adds Jin. "People genuinely care and it almost activates a piece of them that wants to make a difference and wants to make a change," he says. 

The start-up's rebrand launches on Dec. 1 with a brand new website and Instagram, and will soon be available at the UBC Bookstore.