What Is Upcycling? How is it different from Recycling?

What is Upcycling?

Many people know and understand what recycling is all about, but there are still some people who have not heard of upcycling. So what is upcycling? Upcycling is the act of turning unwanted items or old things into something new. This is achieved without breaking the product down into its raw materials. With this technique, one can reduce waste and improve the efficiency of resources used. In short, a great way to make beautiful things with a higher value, than what it previously was. With just a little bit of imagination and creativity, we can avoid throwing things, not in use and give them a new life.

Source: hgtv.com

How Upcycling Is More Than Just A Trend

As the name suggests, upcycling lifts the value of the product. Here waste is looked at as a resource. Apart from reducing waste, the importance of upcycling projects can be understood better by breaking them down into two – environmental and personal benefits.

Environmental Benefits:

It is a known fact that littering is pretty bad for the environment. Upcycling is at the top of the ladder when it comes to the environment as your trash doesn’t go anywhere, it stays with you. This not only keeps materials out of landfill but also reduces the number of resources needed to manufacture new materials. This, in turn, helps to conserve natural resources.

Personal Benefits:

Reworking an old item and bringing it to life is a super creative skill to have. It helps to save on how much we spend on items that we use every day. Some people are so good at it that they eventually make their livelihood through upcycling projects. It also saves the hassle of finding ways to dispose of trash. There’s a certain level of satisfaction in knowing that you’ve done something great for the planet and for yourself.

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Difference Between Recycle And Upcycle

The terms ‘upcycling’ and ‘recycling’ are used interchangeably but they are actually non-related and very different from each other. Let’s take a look at a few points on upcycling vs recycling to know what makes the two so different from each other.

  • Recyclables are sorted and then broken down to create new materials, but upcycling involves taking a waste item and working on it to make it useful again.
  • Upcycling converts material into something of greater value than it originally was, whereas recycling converts material into something of roughly the same value as it originally was.
  • During the recycling process, there will be some energy consumed to break the waste materials by which pollutants are created, however, with upcycling, there are no waste materials which in turn results in no pollution to the environment.

Turn Your Trash Into Treasure With Upcycling!

It’s great fun creating something new out of old stuff. With so many upcycling projects online to take inspiration from, there are dozens of ways to create your own unique piece. Most of these upcycled things come out cooler than they initially were. To help you get started, we have come up with budget-friendly and good-for-the-planet upcycling ideas that can give new life to your trash.

Upcycling Your Old Clothing:

With a little bit of imagination, your old clothing can be transformed into things like face masks, tote bags, cushion covers, pillowcases, shopping bags and much more! Those torn jeans can be transformed into a pair of shorts or a denim skirt. Adding embroidery details or changing the color of the fabric can create something that looks new. A dash of creativity can revive your tired wardrobe.

upcycling definition

Upcycling Your Old Furniture:

The good thing about upcycling old furniture is that there are no limits to what you can create. From turning an old ladder into a display bookshelf to turning an antique leather trunk into a table, the options are endless. Plan ahead and ensure you have the right tools and equipment needed for the job. Upcycling has become the most important interior design trend in recent years.

upcycling projects
Source: loveproperty.com

Upcycling Your Beauty Containers:

Little cosmetic glass jars can be transformed into just about anything. From hanging planters to bathroom holders, small simple ideas will do the trick. You can change the color by painting the outside of the jar with a funky color or go with plain glass if you prefer to keep it simple. All you have to do is remove the label and let your creativity do the rest.

upcycling meaning
Source: naturalinstinct.com.au

Upcycling Your Electronic Waste:

There are a whole lot of things that you can do with your old motherboards, television sets, chargers, CDs, headphones, etc. You don’t have to be a DIY expert to make the most out of your old electronic waste. From jazzing up your clutch with old CDs to building your own mac aquarium with old television, you will be surprised by the different ways you can repurpose your old electronics.

upcycling vs recycling
Source: indiatimes.com

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Upcycling Your Kitchen Tools:

If you have a kitchen overstocked with things that you just never use, there are wonderful ways to up-cycle them. From wall-hanging artworks to lighting, cool clocks with baking trays to empty wine bottle showpieces, there’s something for just about everything in your kitchen. Through ingeniously clever ways you can now up-cycle everyday items beautifully, finding them a new purpose and new life.

definition of upcycling
Source: wonderfulengineering.com

The best thing about upcycling is the sense of accomplishment that you get when you transform a broken object into something amazing. Some of these crafts are very basic and look out of this world when they are finished. Start seeing everything around you with an upcycling eye and make something special to give to a friend or donate to charity. Are you ready to experiment with upcycling projects at home? If you’re already one, do share your upcycling techniques with us in the comment box below!

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