Upcycling


Upcycling” is the term used to describe the ingenious practice of making a new usable (and even fashionable!) product out of old or unwanted items, in such a way to generate value from reused resources and give them a second life.

This expression, heard for the first time in 1994 in an interview to Reiner Pilz (a German entrepreneur), has more recently found an impressive appraisal from people all around the world desirous to engage in such an environmentally friendly and creative practice.

Nevertheless, the peak in related searches on the Internet together with the expansion of social media channels, have given such a global audience to upcycling until the point of being elected word of the year 2019 from the Cambridge Dictionary.





Differently from other well-known recycling activities, the encouraging habit of upcycling involves benefits such as relatively null costs of production, no usage of energy nor the need for additional gas emissions, and not to mention the massive reduction of waste directed to our landfills.
Basically, the logic behind upcycling is that of circular economy, aimed at promoting a more sustainable model of production in contrast to the traditional linear economy and its detrimental ‘take, make, dispose’ approach.

One example is clearly that of the fashion industry, in which textiles and materials can easily find alternative applications (did you know that ASOS has an own line of clothing entirely made out of vintage and reworked clothes?), or they can be derived from wasted items (for instance Timberland has partnered with a tire manufacturer in order to make footwear out of old tires).
More than 16 million tons of waste were generated by the fashion industry in the US in 2014 according to the EPA, and more than 10 million tons were directed to landfills. 
The room for further efforts in the direction of upcycling (and recycling in general), with more than 70% of the world’s population using secondary clothes), is still enormous.
In addition, according to a survey made in 2017, more than 65% of people in the US had upcycled an item at least once. This number is surely expected to grow.


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To conclude, Upcycling represents a rising trend capable of both stimulating eco-friendly lifestyles and empowering the creativity and the innovative attitude of individuals. The deal is real, and don’t forget that this type of behavior is also contagious! 

Are you still doubtful on how to proceed with upcycling? Here are some original ideas:
- Convert an old wood ladder into a rustic bookshelf;
- Transform a bathtub into a couch for your living room;
- Adapt and old tv into an aquarium;
- Use plastic bottles to make a broom for your outdoor;
- Hang a rake to the wall to make a tool rack for your garden activities;
- Transform mason jars or bottles into new age luminaries;
- What about big empty large cable reels used as outdoor tables for your tea with friends?
- Use an old bicycle rim as a fashionable clock;
- Starting from an old tire and using a string you can get yourself a new ottoman;
- Someone has even made a belt out of can tabs;
- Do you know bowlers? They can become very eccentric lamps;
- A globe stand can easily become a chic paper towel order.