Upcycling breathes new life into trash, and it has some delightful perks!
We all know that we are supposed to “reduce, reuse, and recycle,” but some people may not realize that we’re supposed to do those things in that specific order. Leaving out the former components can reduce the effectiveness of efforts to recycle.
Although reducing consumption is fairly straightforward, it can be more challenging to reuse items. Enter upcycling, a creative process where waste materials are transformed into other materials or products.
Here’s why you should start doing it.
1. Environmental Conversation
The fact that upcycling is environmentally conscientious shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people. Not having to grow and harvest new crops or create new materials reduces environmental impact in myriad ways. From clearing land to farm, mining coal or goal, and transporting goods around the world, producing good from new is harmful to the environment, and it’s never been more true than in today’s global economy.
However, reducing the number of items that wind up in the landfill is also a positive for the world we live in, especially when you consider that Americans produce millions of pounds of trash every year. Even some items intended for the recycling center wind up in the dump. It’s especially alarming to realize that 91% of plastics aren’t recycled, and plastic takes centuries to break down.
Furthermore, items that find themselves in a landfill can leech chemicals into the soil, water, and even the air. Although some landfills rely on burning as a technique to manage those gases, this can further contribute to air pollution and even greenhouse gases.
2. Supports Local Industries
It’s not just a business’s own waste that can be upcycled into something useful or even profitable! Nearby businesses and industries may serve as a source for materials and goods that can be turned into something else. In this way, companies can work together to reduce waste and maximize profit, and local industries can thrive into the future.
3. Reduced Production Costs
Businesses, artists, and other people who upcycle may find that doing so helps them lower the cost of producing goods, especially when it comes to expensive materials. Any material that can be reclaimed therefore benefits your bottom line and your relationship with your customers if you pass along those savings!
This fact is especially poignant if something that would otherwise have been waste and incurred a cost to dispose of can be upcycled and turn a profit, instead!
4. Produces One-of-a-Kind Items
Upcycling stands in contract to automated production and assembly lines, which can produce thousands or even millions of the same item. With upcycling, your materials and need may be limiting. The result may be just a single item that is unlike any other.
While selling these goods isn’t always the goal, this can certainly help to increase their desirability and, as a result, price. Combined with the reduce operating costs mentioned above, profits only continue to grow.
5. Encourages Creativity
No matter the scale, upcycling encourages people to be creative. So many of the things we purchase are designed for a single use, but why does it have to be that way? Only the most creative mind can look at literal trash and determine how to make it a treasure.
But creativity shouldn’t just be reserved for hobbies or artistic pursuits. After all, what is innovation if not just another word for profitable creativity? Sometimes innovation is accidental, a result of an unmet need. Necessity, they tell us, is the mother of invention.
When it comes to creativity and innovation, no one person or position is best equipped. A company will benefit when people from every level apply their creativity to innovative ideas and creative solutions, including upcycling.
6. Promotes Artisan and Craftspeople
Unfortunately, creative and artistic people have not always been celebrated or even paid for their hard work. They’re occasionally shunned because of their eccentricities. But because upcycling values their creativity, artists and similar creators are more highly regarded, and these regards can extend to arts and crafts in general.
7. Builds Skills
This may be one of the most surprising benefits of upcycling, but it’s definitely worthwhile! To make an item from another item’s refuse requires hands-on work, and that work will teach you a variety of skills if you’re willing to learn. Those skills may even be useful on a resume or come in transfer to personal projects. For example, upcycling often involves sewing, which can be utilized to fix torn clothing. Think of upcycling as a crash course in home economics!
Whether done on a personal or commercial level, upcycling offers benefits on the persona, commercial, and societal level.
Are you ready to upcylce? Here’s a guide to get you started with upcycling.