What is Upcycling?
Upcycling is a term coined by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their book; Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.
Essentially upcycling is a form of recycling. Recycling, is a process by which waste materials are changed to create new products to prevent the waste of potentially useful materials. This process enables us to reduce our consumption of new materials and our need for conventional waste disposal, such as landfill and incineration.
When things are recycled they are either:
- downcycled and the items produced from waste materials are of a lower value and quality than the original item or material. Examples of this include paper and plastic as when they are recycled they are turned into a lower grade paper or plastic.
- upcycled and the items produced from waste materials are of a higher value and quality than the original item or material. Unlike recycled products, upcycled pieces retain and sometimes even enhance the look and feel of the original discarded materials. Examples of this include using skateboards to make chairs, a step ladder turned into shelving or using bike chains to make chandeliers.
We have sourced some videos that will tell you a bit more about upcycling, you’ll find these below. You can also view our pinterest boards to see lots of great examples.