Recycling is Good; Upcycling is Better

 In blog

Our goal as defenders and protectors of our planet is to always have “upcycling” on the brain when we are harvesting new materials for products. Upcycling is a step above recycling, but many seem to confuse the two terms. Both should be common practice, but one is just a little bit more sustainable and eco-friendly than the other.

Recycling materials

Recycling is taking old raw materials and remaking them into new products. A great example is recycling of plastic bottles. We don’t want them ending up in a landfill, but a plastic bottle also cannot be used for holding anything that we consume as dangerous substances may have seeped into the plastic. We can break down plastic bottles and turn them into all kinds of other things.

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A plastic bottle cannot be upcycled, but it can be recycled and repurposed into a bird feeder!

Recycling materials like plastic will prolong their usefulness, but eventually, recycled materials will end up as trash in a landfill. So, recycling is good, but we can do better.

Upcycling materials

Upcycling is when you take material that has been discarded and, without compromising its original composition, you turn it into something else that you can sell or just keep for yourself. Staying with the liquid container example above, aluminum cans are often upcycled and not recycled. The can may be melted down and remolded into a brand new can. This process can go on forever, reducing the amount of energy we use to make new cans, as well as cutting out the damaging process of harvesting new raw materials from the earth.

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The perfect example of upcycling: wood and wheels make an awesome table.

Upcycling prevents materials we have already gathered forever ending up in a landfill. You simply throw it right back up the supply chain. The more we upcycle (and recycle), the less we’ll need to drill, mine, and dig for new materials and the more sustainable our future will be.

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Protect our planet and support businesses that sell upcycled and recycled products. We’ve raped the earth of enough natural materials to last us a lifetime. With a little upcycling, we’ll never have to go back for more.