Upcycling? Isn’t it another fancy word for RECYCLE?

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Upcycling has become the term used in many trendy boutiques, shops and DIY artisans. But what is the difference between upcycling and recycling? We hear it on television, see it online, and read about it in magazines, but what does the term UPCYLCE really mean and how is it different than just recycling materials?

When we look at what recycling actually is and what the word means, we are taking one item and returning it to its actual base form in order for it to create a new item or many new items. The goal of recycling is to return certain materials back into the production of another. Recycled materials are often physically broken down to become something new.  For example, when we recycle a plastic milk container, it will usually be recycled to be used in the production of plastic toy, various home goods or even clothing.

What Is Upcyling?
Upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful. For example:
    •    Taking an old wooden pallet to use as firewood = not upcycling
    •    Taking an old wooden pallet, sanding and painting it, putting cushions on it as a new piece of lawn furniture = upcyling!
When an item is upcycled an item, the materials are not broken down and then used to be part as something new. You may be redesigning it — like using old bottle caps and creating beautiful jewelry, or using discarded tires for an amazing planter box in your garden — but it’s still made of the same materials as when you started.
When you upcycle, you are really using your own creativity, artistic or practical idea and a little elbow grease to repurpose any item that would be looked at as trash. Pinterest is filled with many examples of creative and very useful upcyled projects.

old tires upcycles into garden platers

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