Our waste problem has become so critical, that a small but growing number of companies are doing what they can to reduce the amount of waste produced by their products by thinking about their recycling potential before they are even made.
In fact, "upcycle" has become the new buzzword in sustainable living in the last few years.
Recycle Vs. Upcycle
So what is the difference between recycling and upcycling? Recycling is all about taking an item of waste and transforming it into something that makes it suitable for reuse. This is not too different from upcycling, which in essence does the same thing.
The difference comes in the process. Recycling most often changes the physical makeup of the wasted material: Paper into cardboard shipping boxes, plastic bottles into toys or carpet. Upcycling repurposes an unwanted item into a new item without changing the composition of the material.
For example, companies like Sword and Plough repurpose military canvas into stylish bags. Upcycling is fantastic for the Earth because it means less expended energy.
While a growing number of companies are doing their part to adopt more green business practices, it is consumers who have really embraced upcycling. Upcycling has found a unique partnership with DIY culture, and it is more popular than ever to reuse or repurpose something you already own.
One visit to the social media platform Pinterest and you will have more ideas than you could possibly execute in one lifetime at your fingertips. If you're the type of person who hates to throw anything away, turn your unwanted items into beautiful, enjoyable pieces.
Let your imagination run free, or visit Pinterest for guided ideas. Turn old pillowcases into garment bags, make a wine bottle chandelier, or make paper garlands out of book pages.
The possibilities are endless to reuse, repurpose and live sustainably.