“A term that’s popping up more and more in the green world is “upcycling”. But what is it, and who does it benefit? More importantly, who’s leading this movement and what are they doing?
Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials into something that’s usable and “new”. It’s like recycling but not in the sense of turning glass bottles back into glass bottles. It’s more like turning old soda cans into jewelry, or old barn wood into a coffee table. While people have been upcycling for years, the movement has lately grown – it’s no longer just for the hardcore DIY’ers – in fact, anyone can do it.
Instead of ending up in a landfill or being processed through a recycling center (which does waste energy and water), our waste products gain new life through upcycling at home. These projects make great gifts, and are sold through various outlets such as Etsy.
Alchemy Goods is another leader in the space of upcycling, and produces messenger bags, wallets and totes using old tarps, banners, seatbelts and tire tubing.
Another company, Terracycle, has made its sole purpose to upcycle all of those things that can’t necessarily be recycled or are difficult to recycle (such as Capri Sun packages). Their products are made from crowd-sourced materials and donors are credited for future purchases.
These aren’t the only games in town, and you should certainly explore some home-friendly upcycling crafts on your own or with your family! It’s one more way that you can do a bit better!