a bunch of bags sitting on the side of a road.
a bunch of bags sitting on the side of a road.

Upgrade Your Recycling Habits: Why Upcycling Is Better Than Recycling

Upcycling is an innovative solution to our global waste problem. It is an effective way to reduce the amount of waste generated and keep items out of landfills. It is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional recycling, which requires energy and resources to process materials. Upcycling requires fewer resources, produces less waste, and has a much lower environmental impact. 

By upcycling, we can reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, create jobs, and promote creativity and innovation. Upcycling also allows us to find new uses for materials that may otherwise be discarded, and it’s a great way to reduce our environmental footprint. So, if you’re looking for a way to reduce your impact on the environment and make a difference, consider upgrading your recycling habits and embracing upcycling.

What is Upcycling?

Upcycling is the process of transforming discarded materials into new products of greater value or quality. It is an innovative solution to our global waste problem. Upcycling is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional recycling, which requires a lot of resources and energy to process materials. Upcycling requires fewer resources, produces less waste, and has a much lower environmental impact. 

Upcycling allows us to repurpose materials that might otherwise end up in a landfill. By upcycling, we can reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, create jobs, and promote creativity and innovation. Upcycling also allows us to find new uses for materials that may otherwise be discarded, and it’s a great way to reduce our environmental footprint.

Benefits of Upcycling

Less waste ends up in landfills

Upcycling allows us to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. With traditional recycling, we are only able to reduce the amount of new waste that is created. With recycling, the majority of materials are turned into lower-grade material, which is then sent to a landfill. Upcycling, on the other hand, can create a higher-grade product than was previously available. This means that upcycled products can then be resold, repurposed, or donated. This ultimately leads to a reduction in the amount of materials in landfills. 

Fewer resources are needed

Traditional recycling requires a lot of energy to process materials. This includes the use of chemicals, materials, and heat to separate and then sort materials. Upcycling, on the other hand, requires fewer resources, produces less waste, and has a much lower environmental impact. 

More jobs

Traditional recycling only requires a small amount of labor per tonne recycled. While recycling creates jobs, upcycling creates even more jobs for small businesses and local designers. With upcycling, more materials can be reused, which means more items can be created, and more products can be sold. This leads to the creation of numerous jobs.

Upcycling vs. Recycling

Traditional recycling requires broken or unwanted items to be dropped off at a drop-off location. Once there, items are then sorted by hand into various categories and then sent to a processing plant, which breaks the items down into raw materials like paper, metal, plastic, and glass. After these items are separated, they are ground up, melted, and then reformed into new products, like paper goods, plastic containers, and glass jars. 

Upcycling, on the other hand, allows people to repurpose materials that would otherwise be discarded. There are no drop-off locations, and no sorting is required. All that is needed is creativity and a willingness to put in a little effort. The best part is that upcycling doesn’t require a huge amount of skill. This makes it an accessible hobby for people of all ages and skill levels.

How to Upcycle

To upcycle materials, you first need to determine what type of materials you want to repurpose. Once you’ve decided on a material, you need to think of what you can make with it. Once you’ve decided on an item, all you need to do is gather the necessary materials, and then follow the directions below to transform unwanted materials into attractive, new items. 

Source used or unwanted materials

Go to your local thrift store, garage sale, or landfill to find items that can be repurposed. You can find many things that are barely used at these locations.

Cut the material to size 

Before you can create your new item, you need to determine what you would like to create. Once you’ve determined the size and shape of your new item, cut the unwanted material to size. 

Find the perfect glue or threads

You will also need to find the perfect materials to hold your new item together. One of the most important things to remember when gluing materials is that you need to make sure the glue is suitable for the type of material you are gluing. For sewing, it’s important to make sure your stitches last and don’t break down.

Upcycling Resources

There are a lot of great resources online that provide information on how to upcycle materials. They also provide instructions on how to create new items using repurposed materials. Here are a couple of our favorites: 

  • Sustainable America: Sustainable America has created an online community that allows people to share their eco-friendly ideas and projects. There are great articles on repurposing materials and creating new items using repurposed materials. 
  • RE.STATEMENT: the marketplace where small business designers sell their wearable upcycled art online
  • Pinterest: Pinterest is another great resource for learning how to upcycle materials. It allows users to create boards based on specific themes, like eco-friendly and sustainable living, to help organize their pins.

Conclusion

Upcycling is an innovative solution to our global waste problem. It is an effective way to reduce the amount of waste generated and keep items out of landfills. 

Whether you are looking to upcycle things yourself or support stores and brands that upcycle, you can learn more at RE.STATEMENT.

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