Upcycling? We all know about recycling, even though not all of us do it on daily basis. We recognized it as something that can both save the earth and our economy. Not only that, it can also ensure our species’ longevity in this planet because it lessen the consumption of natural resources.
But don’t you know that recycling is actually just for beginners? No hard feelings, but this is actually a fact that you need to know. The more advanced level in the game is called upcycling, and it is literally a game changer.
However, even though this is a game changer, not so many of us are already familiar with this term. Moreover, it means that upcycling is still not as trending or in the hype as recycling. Even though both of them are important to do, but upcycling can bring many more benefits.
Here we will talk about upcycling, and why we should start to do it.
Brief Talk About Upcycling
First thing first, let’s talk about the meaning of upcycling. The term is used to explain creative reuse of used materials, by transforming the ingredients into something usable without making it lose its value but rather giving it even greater value.
In term of language, we will directly recognize that upcycling is the opposite of downcycling. While downcycling most of the times reduces the value of the materials, upcycling will always make it better whether it is the environmental value or the artistic value.
“When you upcycle an item, you aren’t breaking down the materials. You may be refashioning it — like cutting a T-shirt into strips of yarn — but it’s still made of the same materials as when you started. Also, the upcycled item is typically better or the same quality as the original,” as explained by Hipcycle.com.
The application of upcycling is so wide, that it can be done by anyone with creative minds. One of the most common practice of upcycling is feeding cattle with food waste. This is called upcycling, because the value of the waste and its value as animal food are different.
Another way to upcycle our food waste is to turn it into compost, that can even improve soil quality. Not only it turns the food waste into something that can be used later after, it also helps us to reduce bad effects of having a lot of food waste.
The Benefits Of Upcycling
Now, let’s talk about why upcycling is very beneficial to our planet, the ecosystem, and human beings. There are several reasons why we actually need to recognize this process more, and apply it more often to solve our global waste problem.
First is environmental benefits. Avoiding sending materials into landfill means we stop piling up waste that almost cannot biodegrade there. Let alone when the waste that we are going to send into the landfill are the ones that are not broken, but we just don’t like to use any more, like old sofa that can still be fixed.
Second is how it can benefit our ecosystem. Do you know that we cut a lot of trees to make furniture and single-use chopsticks? ChopValue, a Canadian-based company found a way to save more trees by upcycling used chopstick and into beautiful furniture. Thus, they can save the trees and prevent the chopstick piling up in the landfill.
Third is money saving benefits. Upcycled things are usually far cheaper than buying new things with the same purpose or function. In example, things made of fabrics are usually easy to be upcycled into something new that can function as good as buying new ones.
Fourth is our mental benefits. Don’t you love to watch unwanted things get their second chance, but this second chance doesn’t only give it second life but also a better appraisal? This is why, once you start to learn upcycling, you will be addicted to it.
Involving Business Minds
All of those seem easy to practice, but the fact that upcycling is still not as popular as common recycling as a term, means that not so many people are aware of it. Making it a trend is important because then we can finally make something green for the earth cool, and even economically beneficial.
In this case, the thing about upcycling is to make something used into something else with greater value. The value in this case can be divided into two, which are its environmental value and its economical value. Talking about economical value, it means upcycling can be converted into a business.
As mentioned above, a Canadian-based company named ChopValue is turning used chopstick into furniture that can be sold for good amount of money. The company got the resources they need for free, which means they get more benefits.
ChopValue got the wood resource by collecting dumped used chopsticks from restaurants all around the country. With that, they also help to reduce the amount of chopstick waste to be thrown away into landfills, while on the other hand preventing cutting down trees for making furniture.
Making art pieces from waste is also considered as upcycling. Even making toys from used materials is also called as upcycling. Combine the creativity with business mind, we can get good amount of money by upcycling alone.
Yes, upcycling is still not widely recognized all over the world nowadays. But in some places, the term upcycling has been something common to be used. The example is in Germany, where upcycling is narrated as a way to express people’s desire for individuality and uniqueness.
In the country, things that are related to creativity, handicraft and do-it-yourself activity gain more interest from people. This is where upcycling got its spotlight in Germany. Because of that, the country is now the leader of recycling and upcycling.
Some examples mentioned in Deutschland.de are turning empty wine barrel as a kennel, grandma’s old silver spoon as a wall hook or their old computer as a letterbox. Not only this will give them unique and original item for possession, they also can save the earth from piling up waste.