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Upcycling Gains Popularity

4 October 2009 19 Comments

upcyclingvia Reuters

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Rather than throwing that bag or hosepipe into the recycle bin, how about turning it into a belt or a shower curtain, joining a growing band of upcyclers?

Upcycling refers to reusing an object in a new way without degrading the material it is made from, as opposed to recycling which generally involves breaking down the original material and making it into something else, using more energy.

Supporters of the environmentally friendly practice of upcycling say people in developing countries have effectively been upcycling for years, using old packaging and clothing in new ways, although more out of need than for the environment.

But upcycling is now taking off in other countries, reflecting an increased interest in eco-friendly products, particularly ones that are priced at an affordable level and proving profitable for the manufacturers.

“If upcycling is going to become mainstream, then the corporate world needs to see that it can be profitable,” said Albe Zakes, spokesman of U.S. company TerraCycle which specializes in finding new uses for discarded packaging.

A growing number of companies are focusing on upcycling although the trend is still in its infancy with industry-wide figures yet to be produced.

Upcycling is used on a range of products including jewelry, furniture and fashion items, such as making bracelets from old flip flops, lamps from blenders, and turning skateboards into furniture such as chairs and bookcases.

British company Elvis & Kresse Organization (E&KO) uses industrial waste to make new luxury products, turning fire hoses into bags, belts, wallets and cufflinks.

E&KO co-founder James Henrit said they avoid what they call “virgin materials,” instead opting for scrap sail cloth or furniture textiles in their lines.

“We are very much a social enterprise, and we’re hoping to change the landscape of the luxury accessories industry by leading by example,” Henrit told Reuters Television on the sidelines of the London Design Festival.

A design store in Vienna in Austria called Gabarage lets customers rifle through trash like used plastic covers, old computer chips, and discarded X-rays and pick what they like to create their own individual bag.

All the single pieces of waste chosen are put together by the creative team of “garbage upcycling design.”

“Upcycling stands in contrast to recycling,” said spokesman Daniel Strobel. “We upvalue products innovatively, instead of just reusing them.”

19 Comments »

  • misola said:

    hey im a student at st marylebone school. i would like to ues your picture, can i please use it

    than you

  • Rose said:

    Hello i am a student at St Marylebone School and i was hoping you wouldn’t mind if i were to use your photo of the Upcycled bag for my GCSE project

  • Mbelle said:

    Hi im a student at St Marylebone School, i was wondering if you wouldnt mind me using your photo of an upcycled bag for my GCSE project

    Thanks

  • Joyce said:

    Hello I’m a student from Cheltenham Ladies College. I would like to use your picture for my GCSE coursework.
    Thank you

  • Deniz said:

    Hi I am a student at St.Marylebone school and I would like to ask if I could use this picture for my research about Upcycling. This image will only be seen by myself and the examiners.

    Thank you.

  • Anu said:

    Hi I am a student at St.Marylebone school and could use this picture for my research about Upcycling. This image will only be seen by myself and the teachers.

    Thank you.

  • Poulami said:

    Hello, I am a student and as part of my ICT Controlled Assessment (CAB), I have been asked to research about upcycling and its benefits. I really like the information and the image in your post and I was wondering if I could use the information and the image as part of my research, and post the link as my source of information. This will only be seen by myself and the teachers.
    Thank you

  • ben said:

    can i use this image for education reasons

  • Christina said:

    Hi, am a student and am just doing my GCSE ict work, could i please use this image?

  • Cherry said:

    Hi, I’m a student and I would like to ask if i can use your picture as a source of information for my research?

  • freddy said:

    please can i use this picture for my GCSE ICT project?

  • krueger said:

    hi, i am currently doing my GCSE ICT controlled assessment or coursework and I would like to ask if I can use this image please
    thank you

  • Anu said:

    Hello, I am a student from St Marylebone and as part of my ICT Controlled Assessment (CAB), I have been asked to research about upcycling and its benefits. I really like the information and the image in your post and I was wondering if I could use the information and the image as part of my research, and post the link as my source of information. This will only be seen by myself and the teachers.

  • James said:

    Hello,
    i came across this image whilst doing my GCSE controlled assessment and i was wondering wether i could use it
    Thank you

  • mystery kid said:

    i just used the image

  • village idiot said:

    idiot

  • dildo sucker said:

    you suck dildo!

  • computer support denver said:

    It is highly helpful for me. Huge thumbs up for this blog post!

  • Alex said:

    Hi, I’m a Student in year 11 from West Somerset Community collage and i would like to ask if i can use this photo for my GCSE work?
    Thank you :)

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