Upcycling Vs Recycling

Visiting handmade markets and adorable little boutiques you will come across a term that is becoming increasingly more popular ‘Upcycling’ is all the trend now and I know our grandmothers have been doing it for years but it’s now something people specifically go out and seek and sometimes pay a good price for something that was once new then old now new again!

So what’s it mean? Is it just a different way of ‘Recycling’ old items and making new ones? Well kind of. And to be honest I was a little grey on the issue too which is why I went to my good ‘ol friend Google. According to the site Hipcycle, 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, often of lesser quality.

When you upcycle an item, you aren’t breaking down the materials. You may be refashioning it — like cutting a t-shirt into strips of yarn — but it’s still made of the same materials as when you started. Also, the upcycled item is typically better or the same quality as the original.

What’s old is new again, but with a twist. 

That’s where they get the ‘up’ in upcycling from. It’s something better than before! The Upcycling Fashionista says upcycling is converting low-value materials into high-value products that are more desirable. When you convert old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful you are giving an item a new purpose and in doing so, you reduce the consumption of new raw materials and you reduce the amount of waste you create.

I love how they use the term ‘refashioning’ an item. I have a friend who had this fantastic idea to collect old denim items such as jeans and jackets from the local op shops and cut them up into small squares and make a queen size quilt (until she got about 50 squares into it and realised she need around 500). She has since lost interest however the point is she had a wonderful thought on how to upcycle something society tends to discard once it’s a little worn, torn, stretched or simply no longer in fashion.

So it got me thinking about what I do at Ernie & Bird and FaithHopeLove and how none of my items are really helping our environment. I just buy brand new things and make more brand new things out of them. This makes me feel pretty blue considering there is so much in our world that is no longer loved and cherished and encourages me to think a little harder about my creations. So who knows what’s around the corner for future products but for now I might try sourcing some fabrics from my local op shop and upcycling them into new creations. That would be nice. Here are some upcycled discoveries from madeit

Collage1 Collage2 Collage3
EATcreations – Upcycled Spoons for Herb Garden
Flopsam and Jetsum Bright Boho Patchwork Infinity Scarf
Gaye Abandon – Upcycled Jumper Hot Water Bottle Cover
APIECEOFPIE – Sunny Day Dress – M 12/14
Vintage Chenille – Bernard Plush Grey Elephant
Merry-Go-Round – Vintage Retro Rainbow Bunting

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