Recycling vs. Upcycling: What is the difference?

pile of plastic bottles for recycling Over the last decade the term “Upcycling” has been coined and worked into the discourse of sustainability efforts. It appeared in William McDonough’s book, Cradle to Cradle. It has yet to earn itself mainstream popularity, but its necessity as a goal for how we should be progressing makes its definition important. Like so many things in sustainability, I come across many enthusiasts who are trying to promote the practice but may be passing around an incorrect meaning.

We all know what the basis of Recycling is: a practice that takes an item and targets it for reuse, returning it back to the cycle of daily contribution to society rather than discarding it to trash. Going to the dictionary for confirmation renders the following:

  • to treat or process (used or waste materials) so as to make suitable for reuse: recycling paper to save trees
  • to alter or adapt for new use without changing the essential form or nature of: The old factory is being recycled as a theater
  • to use again in the original form or with minimal alteration: The governor recycled some speeches from his early days
  • to cause to pass through a cycle again: to recycle laundry through a washing machine

Upcycling is described by some as reusing a material without degrading the quality and composition of the material for its next use. When plastic bottles are recycled, for instance, most often they cannot be turned back into containers associated with anything that can be ingested due to the risk of things seeping into the plastic. As a result, these usually become carpets, or toys, or winter fleeces: things that will eventually also become trash. Recycling has simply prolonged the inevitable by stretching out our waste stream and made the lifecycle costs of the material a bit less.

upcycle lifecycle diagram

In this model, upcycling becomes dually important. First, the practice reduces the amount of waste that we produce and ultimately goes into the ground for longer than any of us will be around. Secondly, it also reduces the need for new virgin material to be harvested as feedstock for new generations of product. In the case of plastic, this means less oil wells drilled. For metals, less mountains mined. For paper, less trees felled. All around this means less expended energy.

Our treatment of soda cans is closer to a true upcycling model. These aluminum containers can be melted down and made into brand new cans and in the process save over 90% of the energy required to make new ones from scratch. This cycle can continue in perpetuity, reducing energy consumption and effectively removing certain materials from the waste stream. Newsprint finds similar success.

More than once I have seen people broadcasting their “upcycling” habits like making wallets from tires, or lawn chairs from pallets, or tables from wire spools. These are examples of recycling. None of those materials are going back UP the supply chain (the series of processes that an industry uses to create a product or service.) They are just making the chain a bit longer.

Upcycling represents a truly cyclical, balanced process that all industries and companies should be aiming towards. At this point, just having the aim would be another important step. All of our products could be drastically changed if the beginning of their design started with the goal of not having them end up in a landfill. A number of ways could be utilities to train our economy into an inherent practice of reuse. My personal definition of the term ends up as:

Upcycling: A process that can be repeated in perpetuity of returning materials back to a pliable, usable form without degradation to their latent value—moving resources back up the supply chain.

It is important to note that I am not saying that recycling is a waste of time or beyond acclaim. Rather, recycling is a first step in reaching a more comprehensive and sustainable solution of waste management that can eventually limit the amount of new, virgin materials that need to be produced or mined from the earth.

Photo Credit: RecyclingPoint.com.au

About these ads

70 Responses to “Recycling vs. Upcycling: What is the difference?”

  1. That’s pretty cool. So how do we get stuff to be “upcycled”? There are recycling plants and everything, but where do you send stuff to get upcycled? Are there places that even do that?
    It reminds me of “The City of Ember”, how since they have finite supplies, they have to keep reusing and reusing everything. Except of course, we aren’t underground.
    Anyway– glad I stumbled across this blog. I’m trying to find more ways to be “eco-friendly”, so I thought this was very interesting.

    • honestly its very simple to upcycle yourself if you take some time and think about it like before you throw something away sit back and look at it and think what else would it be good for? could I change that coke bottle into a rice storage container? or those skateboards with the broken wheels into shelves?

      • However those are examples of reusing or re-cycling and not “up-cycling” as defined in this article. I think Pen2Sword was asking about where to send things to be “up-cycled” in terms of what is described here for example where “aluminum containers can be melted down and made into brand new cans and in the process save over 90% of the energy required to make new ones from scratch. This cycle can continue in perpetuity, reducing energy consumption and effectively removing certain materials from the waste stream.”

      • Yes, exactly. What she said :)

  2. Interesting – I haven’t heard of ‘upcycling’ before. I suppose it’s equivalent in material terms to the ‘reuse’ step in the classic waste hierarchy (reduce, reuse, recycle), though rather than being direct reuse of the same product, it’s reuse of the materials in an equally useful way.

    As you pointed out, the most important starting point is the design phase; unfortunately, existing products have already been designed and their production processes are often deeply entrenched and reinforced by their scale.

    Recycling is undoubtedly useful, and is a visible and conscious means for extending the useful lifetime of materials, but I wonder whether it gives a false sense of accomplishment. A full recycling bin is still a full bin…

  3. I have been so confused on the difference between upcycling and recycling. Thank you so much!

  4. hello, i am a GCSE Student for ICT. can i please use your information?

  5. hi there, i am a GCSE Student for ICT. Could I please use your information?

    • You can certainly use the article and its information in your own work. All I would ask is that you reference where you got the information with either my name and/or Intercon. In the end, the reason I write about sustainability is to help spread awareness about the problems and opportunities that exist around us, so I’m glad to hear that your school work is helping do more of the same.

      Let me know if I can be of any other help to you.

  6. As vishaal said, this years GCSE task is about Upcycling. Would it be okay for me to also use your information?

    All sources should be referenced anyway, as the GCSE requires you to state where you found your sources.

    I bet you’ll get loads of students asking this, as information on Upcycling is hard to find.

    • Plummer,

      Thanks for your interest. Similarly, I am all for distributing information. The best way for there to be more info on Upcycling is if we keep talking about it with more people, so by all means. Like you said, all sources should be referenced anyway. Good luck on your research as well. All the best.

  7. hello, i am a GCSE Student for ICT. Could I please use your information?

  8. hello, i am a GCSE student for ICT. could i use your information for my controlled assessment?

  9. Hello, I am a GCSE Student for ICT. Could I please use your information? Thank you.

  10. Hello, this years controlled assesment is on Upclying, and I have stumbled upon this article, and much to my suprise, I have found that there are lots of other students wanting to use the information in their controlled assesment too. The board requires that we get permition to use it however, so would it be ok if I was to use it in my assesment?
    Thanks

  11. Hi

    As part of my controlled assessment I have to research upcycling

    I would like your permission to use your idea and of course I will credit your website.

    Please inform me on whether I will be able to do this

    Thanks
    Ria :) x

  12. Ive been saving some things I know would be great for upcycling but dont know where to send them or take them. I live in Hampshire Co. W.V. Can you send info, or tell me where to look?

  13. Interesting article, do you have any further reading on this? I always understood upcycling to be a process of taking something unwanted and of low-value and converting it into something of a higher value hence the ‘up’ part. What you’re referring to is a more cyclical process which I imagine most would consider ‘recycling’ especially in the case of aluminium soda cans which then become more soda cans.

    Wikipedia defines upcycling as ‘converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.’ I think your definition takes into account ‘environmental value’ but not so much the ‘better quality’ part. What do you think?

    • Greetings. Thanks for stopping by!

      I think that upcycling is a newer, superior process with higher expectations than recycling, which has been around for a while now. Goals of upcycling raise the bar for how we handle our waste and shed light on the fact that we have the ability to eliminate waste streams entirely.

      When it comes to your definition, my stumbling block would be how is that different from recycling? Theoretically, turning a plastic bottle into a carpet is raising its intrinsic value. In fact just about all of our recycling measures could fit into that definition.

      The problem is that plenty of what we recycle now is not really helping, only delaying the inevitable of ending up as waste. Upcycling, by contrast breaks that trend. I think your wikipedia definition is not inaccurate, but in my mind (and I would argue, in terms of sustainability) being able to turn old tires into raw rubber creates more value and quality than turning them into wallets. Turning a plastic bottle into a pencil holder is giving use to a piece of trash. Turning it back into raw plastic is creating the opportunity for it to be turned into anything.

      • Hi!
        I followed this intersting discussion. But I wondered why the term downcycling never has been used so far.
        For my understanding our definition of upcycling is referring to downcycling, where a separation into the different components brings the material in new production process. For upcycling no major separation/modification is needed.
        Interesting how the perceptions are so different, isn’t it?
        Cheers

      • Turning bicycle inner tubes into bags is much better than reprocessing the rubber to then make new bags. Would save a lot of unnecessary use of energy in reprocessing the material first.

        If we eliminate the idea of waste, then the term re-cycling would better fit your up-cycling definition and re-applying materials (tyre handbag example) would refer more to backing a material up in the cycle, avoiding the energy of reprocessing. Seen in this way the reapplication of materials is much better than reprocessing.

        Maybe teaching undefined terms at GCSE level is where the problem lies. Teachers should say what it really is that happening through the use of long sentences. Might create more understanding and awareness to what is involved behind the marketing buzz word.

      • Hey Jeremy, thanks for stopping by.

        I agree that turning reprocessing rubber takes more energy than just repurposing it into a new object, but that’s not really the only comparison. I think the more important comparison is reprocessing rubber for new tires or making new tires out of rubber made from scratch. In most cases, breaking down existing material carries with it lots of energy savings (paper, plastic, metal, concrete are all good examples).

        Turning old milk cartons into planters (to become trash) does not give us a net energy savings when compared to drilling for more oil to make more plastic to make more milk cartons.

        I think that “recycling” as we are describing it here is definitely worthwhile as long as it doesn’t damage the material to a point where it can no longer be upcycled or woven back into the realm of long term utilization. Once we’ve irrevocably turned it into trash, I think we’ve encountered a flawed process that needs to be reassessed.

        I absolutely agree that education is really the key here. We need less short sound bytes and more comprehensive explanations of processes that materially affect our lifestyle.

      • Following on. The main point is that it’s a great diagram. Could it not have an additional arrow, mid way up the green up-cycle arrow, cycling/pointing to the lorry, missing out the reprocessing step. I think that would take into account many of the examples people suggest is up-cycling. Not all the examples need to go to trash after use, some could still up-cycle.
        As long as the material/object is not being mashed together with other materials it should in theory remain possible to keep in the up-cycle. It’s a bonus if it is can avoid the reprocessing energy.
        The objects repurposed in a way that sets them on a down-cycle path, particularly for short term gain, should be avoided. Which is what I understand you are saying.
        Education could then be placed on awareness of short and long term down-cycling awareness. And GCSE teachers should be made aware not to use hot glue guns in so called re-cycling projects. :)
        Maybe Recycle in your diagram is down-cycle. Re-cycling is just an entry point to encompass both, could be dropped as you say.

      • This would be the first time that I’ve dug into a version 2 of a diagram, but I think the exercise could be worthwhile. I’ll see if the next diagram can bump up the complexity one degree to yield some more options.

        I’m still on the fence about the whole “downcycle” terminology, but it would make sense to have “recycling” as the practice of general reuse that breaks into both “up” and “down” cycling.

  14. When the term “upcycling” was coined – c1994- there was no term “recycling”.It was either upcycling or down cycling.(Recycling Is a word I consider to be sort of “greenwashing”).I think the term recycling came into popular use to make people feel better about their consumption,it smacks of Madison Ave to me.Call me old school I am sticking with the original.

    http://www.delightworthyn.com/2011/06/the-hat-that-was-a-shirt/

    Stepping off the soapbox now :)

  15. Reblogged this on Vintage Style Queen and commented:
    Yesterday I up-cycled one accessory into another and it got me thinking about the difference between recycling and up-cycling was and that’s when I found this post.

  16. I lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for 2 years and loved it. Hurricane Katrina came and ruined it all for me.

    I was taught by my mother the importance of recycling when I was 5 years old, but I\’ve been upcycling for 10 years – full-time for 5. I’ve sold to one British TV personality and have already been featured on some blogs, but I’d love to be featured on yours since you deal with the meat of my business which is upcycling.

    If you’re interested for more info, you can visit my site at suzannamcmahan.com and my

    Sincerely,
    Suzanna McMahan

  17. This is a great article, very informative. In our clothing business we re-use furniture leather and make new leather belts and other such accessories, take a look ! http://www.oneleafcreations.com/leather-hip-belts/

  18. wow, amazing post. I didnt know recycling as defined really isnt recycling… (i hope you don’t mind I posted a link to this article in the Conscious Index :)

  19. Great article! I’ve been looking at a similar issue on my blog and exploring why upcycling is so popular. Check it out: http://handmedowncardiff.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/the-only-way-is-upcycling/

  20. Thank you, T. Caine, for such a wonderful representation of upcycling. The web is very limited on its definitions and/or examples. I am a PSU student. Could I use your information in my presentation?

  21. Hello :) love your article. I am currently researching recycling and upcycling for my final assignment in my current studies, national diploma of fashion&textiles and would love to use your article as a source! Would i reference use as T. Caine as the author? :) just to clarify, is recycling turning waste into something new and upcycling is turning an already used product, i.e an old skirt, and reworking into it so it’s wanted again? Instead of using/buying new materials. Thank you, x

    • Hey Hannah, thanks for stopping by.

      Unfortunately, I think that we don’t currently have a way to “upcycle” clothing. Upcycling is about taking the material components back to their virgin levels of pliability. In the case of clothing, it would be the equivalent of turning a shirt back into thread, or better yet, cotton (that could be made into an entirely new shirt).

      Conversely, cutting a shirt up and using the fabric to be made into something else, like a handbag, or a patch, or a reusable shopping bag, is recycling the material. You’re prolonging the use of the same material rather than returning it to its pliable state.

      A good rule of thumb for whether or not a process is upcycling is can you do it indefinitely, over and over again? We can upcycle the same aluminum cans back into raw aluminum pretty much forever, but you can only cut up a skirt a limited number of times before you run out of skirt. Make sense?

      Using that as a reference is perfectly fine. Good luck in your studies!

      • I just saw the term “upcycling” used and was curious to see how it was different from recycling so I googled it. I’ve taken an interest in this area with regard to old/used furniture pieces, wood, etc. Would taking say an old desk, sanding it down, staining it, and basically making it better or different than it’s original appearance be considered upcycling?

      • Erika, thanks for stopping by and your comment. I think what you are describing is not necessarily either recycling or upcycling–perhaps just refinishing. The desk is nominally the same, serving exactly the same function and isn’t altered in any considerable way (really just similar to a coat of paint). To put it another way, if we took an old car and sand-blasted the paint off to put on brand new coat, we wouldn’t say that we are recycling or upcycling the car of its components.

        Recycling the desk would be dismantling it and turning the pieces into… serving trays, or children’s toys, or cutting it up into a pair of end tables. It would be giving the same material in its current form another “cycle” of use. However, in the end this is still ultimately something akin to trash, so we have no increased its environmental value. In essence, we can’t really “upcycle” wood because it’s a natural product. An exception could be something like fiberboard or particle board (made of woodchips) which can be chipped down and then made back in to the raw material for a new production process. In this case, the material is going back up the supply chain in the opposite direction of trash, expanding the options for its final use.

  22. I’ve been upcycling old items into jewelry for the past 5 years and I sell my things online. It’s been a great job for me so far!

  23. Great article! I actually just did one myself on upcycling and am adding this as a read more resource. Thanks!

    • Nicole, great to hear from you and thanks for stopping by. In looking at your article, I think you actually have the definitions of upcycling and recycling switched. Upcycling refers to an increase in environmental value, where as recycling is extending the lifespan of an existing material.

      A good example is plastic bottles. When we recycle plastic bottles, we usually don’t turn them into plastic bottles. We turn them into fleeces, or countertops, or something else that will eventually be trash. Aluminum cans, on the other hand, are something that we actually UPcycle. We turn them back into new aluminum cans.

      A good rule of thumb for whether or not a process is upcycling is can you do it indefinitely, over and over again? We can upcycle the same aluminum cans back into raw aluminum pretty much forever, but you can only cut up an old sweater a limited number of times before you run out of sweater.

      • Thanks so much for the clarification! I didn’t realize i was so misinformed on what exactly upcycling is. Very interesting to see that so many other blogs as well as websites are using the term when in fact it should be recycled (turning a bulb or bottle into a vase). Again thanks for taking the time to read my post and offer your expertise. I have went back and changed up my post so that it is accurate and informational.

  24. Thanks for a great article!

    Hannah asked an interesting question about clothing. I’d like to ask about fabrics. Fabrics cannot be upcycled, with wear and tear etc all fabrics will eventually erode/ disintegrate and become a waste product. So would you say that preventing fabrics from entering landfills ie using already made fabrics for multi purposes/ products could be seen as upcycling or an upcycled process as opposed to having new fabric made from scratch. You could say that this is recycling, but the fabric was just a fabric and not a product in the first place.

    • Val, thanks for the great comment!

      You bring up an interesting point. Another example would be, if someone buys a Poland Spring bottle of water, drinks all the water and then decides to fill it back up and use it as a water bottle again, is she recycling, upcycling or something else/inbetween?

      In my opinion, I think that the often misconstrued terminology of taking something of “higher environmental value” means that one is adding pliability and flexibility to what can be done with it. I think this is the key feature of upcycling. Upcycling fabric would be turning it at least back to thread, if not (impossibly) back to cotton.

      I think both of our examples are closer to a recycling model. They are extending the use and lifecycle of a given material that is still destined to be waste–even though they are not changing the product into something else.

      Hope to see more insightful comments to come.

  25. Very informative read. Quite revealing…and thanks for liking my post.

  26. I read your article with great interest. Thank you. The recycling serves indeed the honorable goals. The benefits are the obvious yet I think not the economic reasons are the main force here but the way of our thinking, the approach towards the steps we leave in life – the horror of the garbage behind.
    http://arthiker.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/meeting-a-fantasy/

  27. I love it. I am moving a little country restaurant into the city, refurbishing all my furniture instead of buying new. We used to be called Leila’s Arms and now we will be called Leila’s Up-cycled.

    • Hey there Gabrielle. Thanks for stopping by. As the article tries to map out, refinishing furniture is actually an example of recycling, not upcycling, given that refinishing a piece of existing furniture is not increasing its environmental value, but simply prolonging its use before eventually fulfilling its role in becoming part of the waste stream. However, that doesn’t mean hat refinishing furniture isn’t incredibly worthwhile. Great luck with the restaurant!

  28. Very good explanation, thank you.Trying to come up with a good translation term for my language,this was very useful for my brainstorming :)
    Tanja

  29. Hello T Caine! A couple of questions. 1) Can you let me know from where you derive your definition of upcycling? Almost everywhere I’m searching I’m finding a different description of what upcycling is – stating more along the lines of reusing or combining found objects to reduce the use of new raw materials. Some of the first recorded uses of the word seem to be more in that vein. I’m finding the definition of downcycling more in the spirit of what you’re describing with the plastic bottles, in that in “recycling” plastic different types of plastic are mixed – in the process creating a degenerated quality which can only be used for lesser products. Perhaps we need a whole new word altogether for the ideal process you’re describing – perhaps flow-cycling?.

    I wasn’t aware that aluminium could be “flow-cycled (or insert new word here)” perpetually and that plastic “downcycling” is doing a good thing but only delaying the inevitable but still ultimately adding to the waste stream. This is important information that I think people should be more aware of. This will definitely make me purchase fewer plastic bottles and more aluminum cans as it sounds like using aluminum is so much better for the environment. (why don’t we produce more in aluminium cans? bottled water for sale in bottled aluminum instead!?).

    But this brings me to my 2nd question:
    2) What about glass and it’s process? You don’t mention it here. Re-cycled, Up-cycled, Down-cycled or Flow-cycled? Can it be melted down and reused perpetually as glass or does it degrade? I loathe adding to the waste stream, and if I can be more conscientious about what items are better to select when making disposable purchases on the run…

    Thanks!

    • Hey there, and thanks for stopping by. There are a lot of questions in there :)

      I actually think that William McDonough has talked a lot about his understanding of the word that he has largely helped to define. I think he’s also given interviews about the growth of misconceptions or misinterpretations about “upcycling” that have permeated through society. I’d look at Cradle to Cradle or some of his interviews. This is one example. Look at the bio up top:

      http://archrecord.construction.com/features/green/archives/0703mcdonough-1.asp

      It’s also important to point out that there’s this other common definition out there of “increasing environmental quality” that I think is misunderstood as well. In my mind, repurposing tires into a wallet is not increasing environmental quality. To the environment, that is still trash. It is not more environmentally flexible or less environmentally harmful. Turning it back into raw rubber would be increasing environmental quality.

      I’m not really a fan of “down-cycling” because in my mind everything is going down the supply chain. I’m not sure the terminology is really what we want to use to instill a progressive movement of resource allocation or distribution. Plus, it’s not really what we want to encourage anyway at the end of the day.

      In regards to plastic vs. aluminum, I think part of it has to do with the cost of those materials and the standards that bottlers have come to migrate towards. Aluminum is reusable, but also more expensive than plastic. At the same time, as the price of oil rises plastic becomes increasingly expensive. I think consumers have the opportunity to help guide the market into using less plastic through purchasing power, including buying aluminum water bottles.

      Again, I’m not sure that “flow-cycled” is the right terminology, but it’s important for us to continually re-examine the words we’re using so I think the exercise is important. Maybe there is another option out there.

      When it comes to glass, it can be upcycled. Glass can be used perpetually over time and one of its benefits is that unlike plastic it doesn’t have the strong risk of absorbing its contents. The problem is that glass is very energy-intensive to make (and even remake), which tempers its recycling/upcycling participation. As I write this in Dubai, I spoke to a waste management company yesterday that said it’s even harder to recycle here given the abundance of sand (key component).

      I think I touched on all of it, but if not let me know. Definitely appreciate the thoughtful comment so come around more often!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. uberVU - social comments - February 17, 2010

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by energysavingguy: Recycling vs. Upcycling: What is the difference? http://bit.ly/9QELVb

  2. Recycling vs. Upcycling: What is the difference? « Sustainable Future - March 6, 2010

    [...] READ ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE // ]]> Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Cradle to Cradle design46:1 is the ratio of plastic:plankton [...]

  3. Upcycling: Another name for the waste product aftermarket? « Pushing Possibilities - March 12, 2010

    [...] a Comment I stumbled upon this well put together blog, Intercon, and came upon this post entitled Recycling vs. Upcycling: What is the difference? In the post, the author defines upcycling as: process that can be repeated in perpetuity of [...]

  4. The Art of Upcycling | Santa Fe Downtown - March 2, 2011

    [...] Upcycling is “the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value,” says Wikipedia.  Where recycling converts plastic bottles into microfiber jackets, upcycling turns newsprint into notebooks, or broken skateboards into hip, colorful benches. For the smartest elucidation of the difference I’ve run across, read this post on Intercon. [...]

  5. do it yourself: new uses for old things » Sarah Sandel Photography :: kids. seniors. couples. families. :: Refreshing. Creative. You! - November 2, 2011

    [...] guide by the makers of [Real Simple magazine]. Seriously, they have hundreds of ideas for ways to [upcycle], reuse & repurpose items you probably have laying around the [...]

  6. Upcycling: Portemonnaies aus Tetrapacks | reverb magazine - December 5, 2011

    [...] Das DIY-Special hat uns angefixt, jetzt basteln wir selbst los. Im ersten Teil unserer neuen Upcycling-Serie, stellt euch reverb-Autorin Birte Frey einen Klassiker vor: Portemonnaies aus [...]

  7. Upcycled vs. Recycled « thrifthangover - July 30, 2012

    [...] between “upcycling” and “recycling”? After a little research, the blog Intercon gives a fairly great explanation, complete with a picture [...]

  8. Milano Fixed Archive » diventare ricchi nel 2012 - October 18, 2012

    [...] che ci salverà dai cinesi. se ancora non sono convinti linkagli una pagina a caso con dei grafici paura. 6. dipingine uno colorato e con dei disegni del cazzo, scrivi su kickstarter che è una versione [...]

  9. Upcycled Art at Hatch | hatcharthouse - October 18, 2012

    [...] that incorporates upcycled materials. Upcycled is still a fairly new term, you can learn more here. And remember, the main criteria for Ecosquared is to use something upcycled, have it measure [...]

  10. Light Reading by Lula Dot « Chandeliering - December 21, 2012

    [...] While some define it as recycling unwanted materials into something of higher value, others believe upcycling is a cyclical process that synthesizes materials into perpetually re-usable form. Both recycling [...]

  11. It’s Playtime! : Upcycle before Recycle on hands on : as we grow - December 27, 2012

    [...] Recycling versus Upcycling? I’m still unsure of the differences, so I had to look it up and found this article from Intercon. How I understand it is to upcycle means you give new life to or reuse items without degrading it. Recycling degrades the item and turns it into something new again. [...]

  12. My Very Green Wedding- Part Deux « The Green Queen - January 8, 2013

    [...] awaiting sketches and working with a designer on getting my dress made using upcycled [...]

  13. Upcycling - What Is It? - Sustainable Reach - May 21, 2013

    […] that has an awesome graphic representation so if you need more of an explination head on over to http://intercongreen.com and take a […]

  14. Environmental Education | dantaresearspools - October 10, 2013

    […] Caine, T 2010, The difference between recycling and upcycling                                                                           http://intercongreen.com/2010/02/17/recycling-vs-upcycling-what-is-the-difference/ […]

  15. Upcycled With Love | A Flutterby In Stitches - January 15, 2014

    […] still confused, ask Mr Google. Here’s an article that talks about it in more depth – Recycling vs. Upcycling. To see upcycling in action, check out Ragged Blossom - amazing upcycled […]

  16. Up-cycled newspaper returns to parent tree as wood | INmatteria | A dissection of innovative materials - January 27, 2014

    […] its supply chain in first place. Take a look at a brief synthesis about the difference between recycle and up-cycle, this last word coined in Cradle-to-Cradle by William […]

  17. Up-cycled newspaper returns to parent tree as wood - April 1, 2014

    […] its supply chain in first place. Take a look at a brief synthesis about the difference between recycle and up-cycle, this last word coined in Cradle-to-Cradle by William […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 821 other followers

%d bloggers like this: