WHY IS UPCYCLING SO REVOLUTIONARY?

What is 'upcycling', the considered miracle that will save fashion?

As we have mentioned in previous articles in which we talked about sustainability, society is increasingly aware of the issue, climate change, and the waste we generate. As a consequence, new concepts have been created with the aim of adapting language to people’s new needs.

Specifically, in today’s article, we want to talk about a concept that is increasingly fashionable and that has acquired more importance in recent years. Exactly, we are talking about the term upcycling and if you do not know what it means, we invite you to continue reading this article to discover the most important things about this new term.

What is upcycling?

Is the concept used to refer to the use of objects? In other words, upcycling consists of taking advantage of recyclable materials in order to create other products through them.

What is intended through this practice is to transform waste with the aim of turning it into objects of value. It is important to mention that the value of the products that are created is considered to be greater than that of the original material.

What is the origin of upcycling?

Now that we know what it means, we consider that it may be interesting to know the origin of it, and it is that, although it is a term that is fashionable right now and is increasingly important, the word upcycling was used for the first time in 1994.

As You may have seen, the term upcycling is the combination of two words: upgrade and recycling, and as we said, it refers to the act of creating new products through recycled materials.

Specifically, it was Reiner Piltz who named him for the first time that year and later, in 1996, it was the German Gunter Pauli who titled one of his books “Upcycling”. Each time, this word was being used more, but we could say that it was not until 2002 when it became more important. This importance is due to the fact that the architect William McDonough and the chemist Michael Braungart introduced in their book “Cradle to Cradle” an explanation of Upcycling.

In addition, they not only explained what the term consisted of but that the book was made of reused plastic and even the ink was designed so that it could also be reused. All of this made the upcycling concept more important to many people.

What is the difference between upcycling and recycling?

Surely, when you have read the definition of upcycling you will have thought that it is a very similar term to recycling, and although they share some things in common, it is important to comment that they are two different concepts.

Therefore, to make the meaning of both concepts clear to you, we are going to mention the main difference between upcycling and recycling.

We could say that when we talk about recycling, we refer to the industrial process by which waste is transformed into new material. Instead, upcycling refers to the use of objects to create new products that have a greater value than the original product. In this way, upcycling aims to transform waste using imagination and creativity.

We can say then that upcycling goes much further than simply recycling, since it consists of using the imagination to reimagine new products thanks to existing materials. It goes much further because what is done through upcycling is to turn a product into something new.

How can we use upcycling?

As we said, upcycling is a term that has been in vogue in recent years, and it is that, although it may not seem like it at first glance, it is a concept that can be applied in many sectors, from fashion to technology.

Ultimately, what upcycling also aims to do is offer creative solutions and ideas to reinvent the products that companies normally uses. So that you can discover the great world of upcycling, we are going to comment below on the different applications and in which areas they can be used. These are some upcycling ideas:

Fashion

Applitanted in fashion could possibly be one of the areas where this concept is becoming more import and that is that the production process that the textile industry needs to carry out is very complex and needs to use many resources.

In addition, you not only need water, energy or products, but the process to carry out the garments is very polluting for the environment. As a consequence, upcycling has become a very useful sustainable alternative for this sector, which is not only beginning to apply to small artisan shops, but more and more brands are adopting these processes to reuse, for example, damaged garments.

Furniture and decoration

The decoration and creation of furniture have also become a sector where upcycling has acquired a lot of importance since it consists of taking advantage of old and possibly broken furniture to reuse them and create a totally new piece of furniture.

Specifically, in this sector, there are no limits to be creative and create furniture or other household items thanks to upcycling.

Industrial

Finally, we want to highlight upcycling applied to the industrial sector. This is possibly the least common sector due to the materials they use. In this way, there are organizations that reuse the waste of the products they manufacture with the aim that they re-enter the consumption cycle.

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