What is Upcycling?
Upcycling is a process where old products are repurposed into new functional products. You can practically upcycle any material into something new and usable and give it a second life.
Upcycling differs from recycling. Recycling involves breaking down materials so that their base material is used to create a new product whereas, with upcycling, materials are not broken down but instead used for a different purpose.
Upcycling isn’t just good for the environment: it is also a cheap, sustainable and inexpensive alternative to creating products. The average UK household produces more than a tonne of waste per year, reducing our waste is a key element in reducing our carbon footprint and preventing more waste from going to the landfill. Not only is it sustainable, but upcycling different products you own is part of the circular economy as you are keeping products in circulation for as long as possible.
Examples of Upcycling?
You can upcycle all kinds of items and turn them into something new. The list below details some objects and materials you can start to upcycle:
Old Clothing - You can repurpose your old clothing into items like face masks, pillow covers and tote bags. Upcycling clothes that don’t fit anymore or that are torn is one of the easiest ways to get into upcycling.
Used Furniture - You can do a variety of things with the material from furniture. For example, with reclaimed wood and wooden pallets, you can create bookcases or tables. It might seem daunting trying to upcycle furniture, but this easy guide is a good starting point.
Containers - A great way to reuse old containers is to upcycle them. You can use old jars and glass containers to make plant pots or even create pen holders.
Upcycling Companies and Brands
Many brands are now starting to upcycle leftover material and sell products produced from all upcycled materials. Below is a list of a few of our favourite brands:
Riciclo Creativo is an independent business based in Bath, UK. The company differs from other upcycling companies as they let customers bring in their old furniture so that it can be restyled into something new.
Re/Done is a luxury clothing company on a mission to create sustainable fashion. The brand upcycles clothing from iconic brands such as Levis and reconstructed them into brand new styles.
Connor Ives uses luxury deadstock and vintage garments in their collections to create designs fuelled by nostalgia. The label has focused on how to make smarter and more responsible clothing since its inception.