Upcycling 101: Up-cyling = Cycling Upwards?

upcycling 101

Up-cyling = Cycling up onto the hill top?
Upcycling is not a very well-defined or familiar concept to the general public.
Nonetheless, it is gaining popularity among the newer generation as well as the pop culture and consumer brands.

William McDonough and Michael Braungart are the pioneering advocates of upcycling in their book “Cradle to Cradle” Remaking the Way We Make Thing” in 2002. Upcycling might remind you of recycling or the similar. However, recycling is a form of downcycling, in relation to upcycling.

Upcycle: Converting low-value materials into high-value materials

Downcycle: Converting valuable materials into low-value raw materials

Advocating upcycling doesn’t mean that we should not recycle/downcycle materials at all, bear in mind that reduce, reuse and recycle are still the 3R principles that we should live by closely.

But by upcycling old materials, you’re reducing any materials consumed/any waste created. In turn, it reduces energy used to create new raw materials, pollution, carbon footprint, greenhouse gas emissions…

At the same time, if you can transform your creative thinking into making something out of anything and giving them a new life, it discourages consumerism (because you can upcycle old materials into something you need), saves you some cash and of course, benefits the environment!

Is your trash actually “trashure”?

  1. Consider what you can make out of the things that are going into the bin
  2. Consider if you have any materials that can be made into the item that you want to purchase

If you were to replace a broken vase and buy a bottle of white wine…
You could use the glass bottle as a vase once it’s emptied, replace the broken vase, without buying a new vase. A vase could have been made from recycled glass bottles, but you are leaving out the labor, resources and energy in the equation required to make a new vase. The glass bottle was given a new life – it was being upcycled.

Hope you guys learn more about what role does upcycling play in waste minimization 🙂 By supporting the upcycling revolution, you can reward yourself with a beautiful, innovative and most importantly, useful product. What are your views? Share with us in the comment down below!

CL xx



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