Are you ready to UPCYCLE? / March 27, 2013

294199_10150272836594436_6867084435_7992109_1725767_nWe’ve all heard a lot about the 3Rs, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… but there is a new kid in town (not so new after all…) that makes it all more interesting: UPcycle!


What is it? what does it mean?

“Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.” (Wikipedia)

For example:

  • Unraveling a wire clothes hanger to break into your car to rescue your keys = not upcycling
  • Stretching out a wire clothes hanger then tying strips of a plastic bag around it to make a wreath = upcycling!



Recycling vs. Upcycling

Recycling takes consumer materials — mostly plastic, paper, metal and glass — and breaks them down so their base materials can be remade into a new consumer product, often of lesser quality.

When you upcycle an item, you aren’t breaking down the materials. You may be refashioning it — like cutting a t-shirt into strips of yarn — but it’s still made of the same materials as when you started. Also, the upcycled item is typically better or the same quality as the original.


Grandma Was an Upcycler

Upcycling is not a new concept. Some of the best examples of modern-day upcycling come from the 1930s-40s when families had very little economic or material resources. In this age of thrift, they reused almost everything, repurposing items over and over until they were no longer useful: Feed sacks became dresses or old doors became the new dining room table.

What’s old is new again, but with a twist.

Thrift is still a trend today and a big reason some people upcycle. Others enjoy the artistic aesthetic, with lots of upcycled items rivaling those found in high-end department stores. But one of the biggest reasons for the rebirth of upcycling is the positive impact on the environment. Items destined for the dump are rescued and remade into something useful.

Also, upcycling is a way of life for people in developing countries. Raw materials are expensive so people use what they can find to create bowls, baskets, jewelry and other useful and beautiful items.



What Can I Upcycle?

Just about anything: bottles, cans, newspapers, milk cartons, tires, suitcases, jeans, T-shirts…you name it. If you no longer have a use for it, upcycle it!


Just Try!


bangles out of plastic bottles


bottles into toys




disco light


tires into vases


Share with us your ideas! you can write at contact(@) and send us your creations and artworks! Have fun!



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