One of the first things you can see when you view my blog is the I Up-Cycle Plastic into handbags. This handbag is an example: The Purple material is plastic from an used and discarded kiddies pool; the inner circle, woven plastic bags; and the lining is made from a also discarded Tent. All these objects were on their way to the landfill!
For a lot of people out there the word “UpCycle” is new. For all of you who have heard about recycle but are wondering what Upcycle is, I have written the following post and have added some interesting links and pictures so that you can see what this movement is all about, and how it’s affecting many aspects of society from art, architecture, textiles and many other areas of our lives!
This is the perfect example The Emeco 111 Navy Chair with Coca-Cola. Made from 111 recycled plastic bottles!
I don’t drink Fussy Sugary carbonated beverages, they are poison for your body! But the Coca-Cola Company has really been promoting Up-Cycling . This next example of street art was at the South Africa World Cup, made with Crates. Awesome! Plus I am such a fan of Street Art!
Up-Cycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.
To Up-Value products innovatively instead of just reusing them. The idea behind it all is to reduce landfill waste and promote environmental consciousness. Up-cycling reduces the consumption of new raw materials when creating new products. This can result in a reduction of energy usage,air pollution, water pollution and even green house emissions.
The term was first used by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their book “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things”. The book is a manifesto calling for the transformation of human industry through ecologically and intelligent design. They put it simply: down-cycling reduces the quality of the materials, while up-cycling maintains or improves the quality of the materials. The vital difference between recycling and up-cycling is that up-cycling eliminates waste and generates value, making it economically attractive to big business. Companies should think of the whole life-cycle of their products, implementing a “cradle to cradle” design, where after a product is used, it can be up-cycled back to an useful product.
The book itself is made from plastic resins and inorganic fillers, designed to look and feel like top quality paper while also being waterproof and rugged. And the book can be easily recycled in localities with systems to collect polypropylene. This points the way toward the day when synthetic books, like many other products, can be used, recycled, and used again without losing any material quality—in cradle to cradle cycles.
There are many worthy examples of mentioning in the Up-Cycle movement here are a couple that deserve all of our support!
US-based company Terra Cycle has brought Up-cycling into mainstream by creating partnerships with major brands, such J&J, Kraft Foods, BIC, and Aveeno, to up-cycle their packaging into new items, all while donating money to schools and charity. TerraCycle UpCycles used packaging such as drink pouches, energy bar wrappers, yogurt cups, cookie wrappers, chip bags and more into affordable, high-quality products ranging from tote bags and purses to shower curtains and kites. Such a large scale operation is only possible with the help of thousands of consumers who send them their used products.
Up-Cycling in Developing Nations!
I am completely in love with XSproject based in Indonesia and Conserve India, both examples where Up-Cycling is used not only for the benefit of the environment but have also added the value of the impact it can have in a community in a developing county. They have taught and empower individuals in impoverished areas the skills they need to create useful and usable items from trash. This doesn’t just clean up the environment they live in, but also generates income for them and their families! I love this picture from Conserve India 2011 Catalog
And then there are some really nutty out of the box ideas like this one!
The Plastiki, a 18 m catamaran is made out of 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles and other recycled PET plastic and waste products. The craft was built using cradle to cradle design philosophies and features many renewable energy systems, including solar panels, wind and trailing propeller turbines, and bicycle generators. The frame was designed by Australian naval architect Andrew Dovell. The boat’s name is a play on the 1947 Kon-Tiki raft used to sail across the Pacific by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, and its voyage roughly followed the same route. This amazing boat set off on March 20, 2010 from San Francisco, California to cross the Pacific Ocean with a crew of six. Plastiki arrived in Sydney Harbour on July 26, 2010.
There are many more examples of Up-Cycling out there and I hope to share them with you as I discover them myself! Plastic is often viewed as the “big villain.” But by rethinking how we design our products and use common materials like plastic, items that would otherwise be landfill waste can be transformed into a valuable resource.
Bags Revolt has Up-Cycled 48 Plastic bags in April! It’s not a lot, I have been experimenting with packaging material this month I will start to count that too! Compare to some people out there this is nothing but for me I’m happy and I know this number will keep increasing!