Sunday, November 13, 2016

Upcycling vs. Recycling


   What is the difference between UPCYCLING and RECYCLING ?

         “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” 

     Recycling- or “down cycling,” takes consumer materials- glass, paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, etc. and breaks them down so that these materials can be converted or remade into a new consumer products- which are often times less in quality. Materials to be recycled often are collected, sorted, cleaned and reprocessed into new materials used for manufacturing.  

Recycling has been a practice integrated into our society as a result of many factors. Through legislation, the government has both increased and maintained the demand for recycled items by enforcing minimum recycling and content mandates as well as utilization rates forcing manufacturers to include recycling in their operations.  

In addition to that, they have have implemented programs to facilitate the participation of the public by providing both incentives as well as convenience and ease in order to partake.  Through curbside collection, the government provides a service that provides weekly pick up of your recyclable materials that households dispose of. Buy back centers and drop off centers were also established in order to allow for the public to take their recyclables to a designated location in exchange for a small refund. By providing financial reimbursement for the collecting and returning of recyclable materials- they have added additional incentive for the public to participate in these recycling programs. 

With the implementation of public education combined with government mandates and the designated programs put into place-recycling and environmental sustainability have been brought to the forefront of our society. Recycling has become a common practice, bringing global awareness to waste management and the preservation of our environment and resources. Economic Impact of Recycling


-Reduces Waste/Landfill Waste

-Good for the Environment 

-Energy Conservation 

-Reduces Consumption of Natural Resources 

   “Repurpose, Reuse, Redesign”

     Unlike recycling or “down cycling” where waste is broken down and converted into materials of lesser quality, upcycling takes waste materials or discarded objects and transforms or repurposes them into something of equal or greater value. The repurposed item is no longer used for its original intended purpose but instead as something else, both aesthetically and monetarily greater in value.  

The main concept driving upcycling is reusing materials instead of discarding them. We live in a throw away society where everything is disposable. 

A Quote from wisegeek  states "Upcycling is designed to work in opposition to consumer culture, encouraging people to think of new and innovative ways to use things, instead of simply buying new consumer goods. It also benefits the environment, by promoting reuse over discarding whenever possible."   Recycling and Upcycling Explained 


-Reduces Waste/Landfill Waste

-Reduces Pollution

-Conserves Energy 

-Saves Money 

-Conserves Global Resources 



     While both recycling and upcycling contribute to environmental sustainability, upcycling is believed to provide a longer term solution for preventing landfill waste and conservation efforts. 

While recycling stretches out the process before ending up in landfills, eventually recycled materials will end back up there discarded as trash. Where upcycling on the other hand  is “a process that can be repeated in perpetuity of returning materials back to pliable usable form without degradation to their latent value-moving resources back up the supply chain.”  Recycling vs Upcycling-What's the Difference?

Both recycling and upcycling efforts are solutions for waste management and the conservation of resources- however upcycling provides a more longterm solution for environmental sustainability. 

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