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Upcycling is a process in which old or discarded items are transformed into more valuable or simply beautiful new, quality pieces. It gives material new life, as something that is useful and creative. Upcycling encourages a new category of entrepreneurs to think of innovative ways to use things, while benefiting the environment by promoting reuse over trash, whenever possible.
Upcycling has been practiced in some form for centuries, however the concept of upcycling for the average consumer was introduced in 2002 via German chemist Michael Braungart and U.S. architect William McDonough’s book ‘Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things’. The book brought the term into the public eye, and began to solidify its use in pop culture. In the meantime, Upcycling has evolved in the last decade:
calls Upcycling: A Magical Metamorphosis of the Ordinary
notes that Upcycling is ushering in an entirely new wave of entrepreneurial innovation.
Upcycling vs. Re-Purposing
Upcycled = discarded material that is transformed or used again, with a new purpose and greater value than its original state.
Re-Purposed = items that are used gain, but with a new similar or new purpose.
UpCycling across various Styles
From accessories to interior design, Upcycled products find their place in Steampunk and Vintage to Industrial, Contemporary, Eclectic, Mediterranean, Rustic and more.
Beyond the fabulous vintage wood crates and pallets, there’s an abundance of wonderful materials that may be Upcycled. These include glass, metals, ceramics, tile, stones, cork, wood, fire hoses & railroad parts, rubber, resin, vinyl & vinyl records, a range of sport equipment from skateboards and wetsuits to bicycles and surfboard resin, in music – from instruments to vinyl albums, luggage, leather and fabrics, computer and watch parts are just some of the discarded items transformed into incredible new products.
Discarded liquor bottles become elegant lamps, unwanted skateboards are turned into stylish sunglasses, sea glass and surfboard resin is re-engineered into jewelry, salvaged wood crates become vintage, industrial furniture, wine barrels are used to create chandeliers, wine racks, chairs, sink pedestals and more, old suitcases are transformed into boom boxes, unwanted bicycles and baseball gloves are repurposed into unimaginable new accessories, and many more…
The UpCyclers – Makers, Artisans, Entrepreneurs.
Behind each incredible transformation and new product is a maker, artisan, craftsman & entrepreneur, with a brilliant combination of innovative spirit and environmental consciousness. Many of these new or “circular economy” entrepreneurs had very different careers, from doctors and mortgage banker to film lighting production and graphic designer, the one thing they all have in common is that they have chosen to follow their passion.
Join us on the journey to meet some of the most fascinating UpCyclers who are creating incredible new products. Every product has a story, but some have a history and a new tale to be told.
The Upcyclers – transforming discarded items into incredible new products!
Reimagined • Recreated • Reinvented • Repurposed