What is Upcycling?


Come June 5, World Environment day and we will either be surrounded or will be advocating for the popular 3R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to address the growing problem of waste and environment pollution of consumerism.

While recycling has entered the vocabulary of environmentalists and even the common man passionate to do something for the planet; the concept of upcycling is yet

So, let’s talk about Upcycling, an idea that is equally significant but different from recycling.


The only similarity between upcycling and recyclying is that both reduce the amount of waste that would have otherwise landed in landfill.

While recycling process often breaks down materials to their basic units which is then processed into a new material of often less quality, upcycling skips the process of breaking down the material but the new product is of either the same or higher quality.

Upcycling is a relatively new term being coined by a German Engineer Reiner Pilz in 1994 to refer to the process where “old products are given more value, not less.”

Though the term is new, the concept is not. Upcycling has been a way of life for many in developing countries where the resouces are minimal due to economic constraints. Upcycling today is becoming a trend mainly due to two major reasons: either there’s a passion to reduce our carbon footprint or because of it aesthetic and creative value or could be both for some.

Why Upcycle?

Recycling often consumes resources in the form of energy and water to break down the material whereas what upcycling requires is a bit of creativity on our part.

Upcycling reduces the need for new virgin material and thus address important issues such a deforestation in case of paper, oil consumption in case of plastics and mining in case of metals. While recycling often prolongs the time for a product to enter the landfill through downcycling, upcycling eliminates the possibility of the product entering into the garbage chain.

Also, while recycling is not something each one of us can engage in; upcycling is definitely feasible for each of us.

So, this environment day Let’s spread the word about Upcycling and in addition to Reduce, Reuse, recycle, Let’s Upcycle too

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