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What is Upcycling and Downcycling - Is it like Recycling?

What is ther difference between upcycle and downcycle?

Upcycle, Downcycle-
What's The Difference?

Whether you make an island
out of plastic bottles
or a book out of home made paper,
you are practicing Up-cycling
and Down-cycling
as well as Recycling!


Exactly What is Up-cycling?

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Upcycle / UP-cycling is the process by which waste materials are used to provide new, high quality products.

A kind of refashioning!

Basically, Upcycling is RECYCLING and REFASHIONING something, all while making it new again. Oh and did we say better? Yup, That's an UP! It's a great way to Reuse.

When you upcycle-you recycle and reuse something for new and greater purpose! Take something old and worn like a used tire or industrial like packing wood and make it into something wonderfully useful.

The goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones.

Upcycling can be done industrially or at home! It's creative! Before you toss something away--Try to think of some ways you can upcycle it!

Remember, though, It's better to use less and precycle when you can!

Here are some simple examples:

  • Creating a clock from a vinyl record
  • Creating shelves from outdated license plates
  • Creating an mpeg or cell phone stand from outgrown legos or other toys
  • Creating new skirt from old jeans
  • Creating tote bags from outgrown tshirts
  • Creating trays or furniture from outdated signs
  • Creating light fixture made from appliance or machine parts
  • Creating leather bracelet from an old belt
  • Creating mini-journals made of home made paper made from outdated magazines
  • Creating a bench from an used headboard
  • Creating jewelry from computer chips and parts
  • Creating table or foot stool from used a wine crate or dresser drawer
  • Creating a rug from fabric scraps
  • Creating lawn furniture from old pallets
upcycled bike chair cancy wrapper purse
Bicycle Chair Artist Andy Gregg Candy Wrapper Purse-Artist Unknown  

Exactly What is Down-cycling?

Downcycle / DOWN-cycling (or downstream recycling) is the recycling of a material into a material downgraded or lesser quality. it is then cheaper or weaker than the original product.

A kind of reclaiming!

Downcycling is more like RECYCLING and RECLAIMING materials that are headed to the heap. In Downcycling we recycle materials to a downgraded or lesser quality such as a recycled plastic or paper. It's a bit of an up and down.

Although downcycling helps the planet because it keeps things out of landfills (for a time at least ) many times it will eventually end up there. Sure, you'll recycle it when you're done with it, but the original item may have been harmful to the environment when it was created (such as plastic). So, think first--always use less or precycle!

Downcycling can be done industrially or at home! It's creative! Before you toss something away--Try to think of some ways you can Down-cycle it!

Here are some simple examples:

  • Creating low grade plastics such as recycled plastic for bottles, lumber, toys from plastic bottles and other recycled plastics
  • Creating recycled papers from paper
  • Creating product packing from cardboard such as PCW
  • Creating rags from clothing
moonbeam recycle packaging
sunnyray recycle batteries and bulbs
breezy recycle hazardous materials
Moonbeam says eliminate excess packaging.
Sunnyray says use long lifers, you use less.
Breezy says read for hazards.

Upcycle--teach your friends to upcycle too! It'sa GREEN thing!

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sunnyray recycle batteries and bulbs

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