Thursday, February 23, 2012

What is Upcycling?

I can’t look at junk or trash now without thinking.. 
“How can I make that into something new?”
You may have seen us posting about upcycling and our upcycled projects.. and some of you may not even know what upcycling is.  In a nutshell it’s turning..
Trash into Treasure
You’re taking something that would have gone into the trash and giving it new life with a new purpose.  What could be more eco-friendly than that?!?

Our Own Upcycled Lights: &

For example.. our wine bottle torches and vases.  What would you normally do with that bottle after you finish it off?  Throw it in the trashcan…  or hopefully recycle it.  We take them and give them a new purpose.. what once was a bottle for holding your wine is now a decorative tiki torch or wall vase.
wine bottle torchWine Bottle Wall VaseWine Bottle Wall Vase Clear
A Little History..
The concept first appeared as the theme of the 1999 book with the same title written by Johannes F. Hartkemeyer. The concept was later incorporated by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their 2002 book Cradle to Cradle:  Remaking the Way we Make Things. They state that the goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones. This reduces the consumption of new raw materials when creating new products. Reducing the use of new raw materials can result in a reduction of energy usage, air pollution, water pollution and even greenhouse gas emissions.
You might be wondering how recycling plays a role.  Well upcycling is one half of the recycling process.  The other being the more well known downcycling which involves converting materials and products into new materials of lesser quality. Upcycling on the other hand converts them into new materials and products of higher quality.
Upcycling = The Cool Thing to Do
Upcycling is definitely gaining popularity.  Not only is it good for the earth.. but it lets people like us use their creativity to design new products.  We have a lot of fun with it..  and it makes it hard to throw away something without first exploring how it could be given new life.  Smile

Several businesses, blogs, shops, etc. have been created to serve this new concept. 
TerraCycle has created partnerships with major brands to upcycle their packing into new products all while donating money to schools and charities.  For example..  they take Capri Sun packaging and turn them into products such as this backpack.  So cool! 
Capri Sun Backpack

HipcycleHipcycle is an online retailer which offers a wide array of unique, durable, artistically appealing upcycled products like this clock made from reclaimed wood.
Hipcycle clock

Upcycled products have also become very popular on Etsy.  By searching “upcycled” you’re given a wide selection of handcrafted products, including our own.  The same goes for Pinterest.. search “upcycyled” and array of products and DIY projects for you to try on your own appear. 
Hopefully this gave you a little more insight into this fairly new concept and possibly even inspiration to try your own upcycled project!
A great resource for upcycled projects are blogs… here are a few of my favorites:

We are continuously posting upcycling project ideas on our Facebook page!  Like us to keep in touch!

Happy Upcycling!
Megan Signature

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