Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Green Term of the Week - Upcycling

Back in May, one of our green terms of the week was downcycling. At the end of the post, I stated that next week we would look at what upcycling is, but I simply forgot. So here it is two months later. Sorry for the delay.

Upcycling is when instead of disposing of something that is no longer of use, it gets transformed into something of greater use and value. For example, weaving plastic shopping bags into a durable, reusable shopping bag or turning old denim jeans into insulation would both be considered upcycling.

It's really a form of recycling, but some environmentalists are distinguishing between recyling, upcycling, and downcycling. True recycling is turning something into the same thing. Glass bottles can by recycled into new glass bottles. Plastic bottles, however, are not turned back into plastic bottles. They loose integrity during the recycling process and therefore the products that come from them are considered downcycled. The plastic is not as good.

Upcycling, downcycling and recycling all keep things out of landfills, so they are all important endeavors.

Image from Etsy

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