Recycling vs. Upcycling
So what's the difference between recycling and upcycling?
Recycling takes consumer materials - mostly plastic, paper, metal and glass and breaks them down so their base materials can be remade into a new consumer product. Every product has a supply chain that begins with harvesting virgin materials which requires energy and interfacing with the environment. Recycling lengthens the lifespan of some materials, however most likely they are destined for the landfill. Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste.
Even the best of landfills eventually suffer from leaks with chemicals, metals, and plastics breaking down depositing harmful substances into our water supply, soils, and endangering wildlife.
Upcycling is a method in which old or discarded materials are converted into something reusable. People have been doing it for centuries, now we have a new name for it: upcycling. Turning empty containers into hanging flower pots, storage containers, and even art pieces. Unlike recycling, upcycling is a more creative way to reduce waste by finding ways to repurpose them.