Are you an advocate of making sure all those empty plastic water bottles at work are thrown in the recycle bin in hopes it is turned into a “new” plastic item rather than finding their way to a land fill somewhere? What about taking an old milk jug and making it into a convenient paint holder while you put the finishing touches on that new paint job?
Or what about taking those old glass bottles and turning it into a new light in your kitchen? Now while Mother Earth thanks you for thinking of ways to produce less waste do you know which one differs from the rest?
Recycling is taking an old item, most of the time this is a plastic, paper or glass, and breaking it down to produce something new. In most cases the new item is of a lesser quality or is mixed with additional materials to make stronger.
Upcycling is the process of taking that old item, any form, shape or material, and making it into a new, useful and most times more esthetically appealing item. When upcycling you do not need to breakdown the original form of the item and while it may have a different look and purpose it is likely to keep the same quality as before. Upcycling will also give the item a better purpose and is not destined for the trash.
In going back to our scenarios from before, the first two are examples of recycling due to the fact that the items were being discarded and hopefully turned into another items, one which would have lesser quality; even the milk jug turned into a paint dish would see the trash in the near future. The third example, the glass bottles being turned into a new light would be upcycling – taking an item and keeping it in its original form to make something more beautiful and useful in a new way.
Want some ideas on what to use in upcycling – and auction is a perfect place! Our personal property auctions are full of items which may not be useful any more to the owner or even worn out on its original way of use but can be used for a great new item.
Take a look at some of these great ideas