Have You Heard About Upcycling?
More and more, the green world is turning to upcycling. Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value (Wikipedia). Entrepreneur explains, "When something is recycled (or 'downcycled'), it's broken down into something of lesser quality--a process that consumes energy. Upcycling adds value by transforming or reinventing an otherwise-disposable item into something of higher quality."
From jewelry to clothing to furniture, upcycling has opened up a whole new realm for green business and green consumers. You can purchase upcycled items from companies such as Etsy and ArtFire, or use your own talent to make beautiful and useful items, such as environmental lifestyle expert Danny Seo recommends here. Danny advocates thinking twice before throwing something away or even recycling it -- even the most unassuming items can be made in useful and beautiful ones.
If you are interested in reading more about the development of the upcycling movement, check out Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by German chemist Michael Braungart and U.S. architect William McDonough. The book discourages downcycling, but rather encourages the manufacture of products with the goal of upcycling in mind.
So the next time you start to toss something in the trash bin (or even the recycling bin!), gather some inspiration from Pinterest, YouTube, or use your imagination to upcycle while helping the planet!
Also, read 14 Clever Upcycling Ideas for Regular Household Goods.