There has never been a greater need to find sustainable alternatives for dealing with waste in whatever form it comes in than now. Having spent decades immersed in a throwaway culture, discarding staggering amounts of waste in landfill sites for decades, a growing number of individuals and businesses who care about the environment are exploring new ways to upcycle all kinds of different objects and materials, often taking inspiration from the past.
The Wonderful World of Upcycling
Recycling is fantastic and an essential part of diverting waste from landfill, recovering our valuable resources and looking after our environment but nonetheless, there are all kinds of processes involved with recycling materials in terms of collection, sorting and then of course we use energy in the actual recycling process.
The typical materials we recycle, like plastic, glass, paper and metal, must be processed and broken down to enable us to reproduce a new product, but upcycling is generally even greener than recycling because it involves taking a waste item and turning it into something useful, using minimal energy and resources. When a material is recycled, it is generally turned into something of a lesser quality.
Upcycling Is Not A New Concept
In developing countries where a greater value is placed on material resources, upcycling is very much a way of life and people are generally much more resourceful than in the west, creating useful and often very beautiful items using whatever is to hand, be it discarded plastic, old tyres, glass or feed sacks.
An example from the past of a time when here in the West we have been better at being thrifty and resourceful, learning to reuse and repurpose items rather than throw things away was during the 1930s in the wake of the Great Depression. Make do and mend was very much the ethos of that time and once again, we are seeing this trend take off, with a thriving interest in all kinds of upcycled furniture, items and accessories.
The Developing World Inspires The West
A very modern example of upcycling coming from a developing world country is the hardwearing and durable sandals made in many parts of the developing world, including Masai tribes in Kenya and Ethiopian farmers and many other African communities. Go to any East African country and you’ll find someone on a market selling these ingeniously designed shoes.
When you consider the concept of taking a waste material like tyres that are so readily available and turning them into tough, practical footwear, it is easy to see how this particular process of upcycling came about, after all it is such a natural choice!
The current upcycling movement is very much inspired by examples like this and many others from the developing world, where similarly organic solutions are found to meet everyday needs and celebrate the potential to create beautiful items from waste.
Those who aren’t motivated by the need to be thrifty and resourceful may instead feel inspired by the positive impact that green, upcycled items have on our environment and drawn to the creativity and unique beauty that can be found in many upcycled items.
The Benefits Of Upcycling
Upcycling benefits our environment in numerous different ways, including:
· Prevention and reduction of landfill waste
· Reduced climate change
· Reduction in the waste of our precious energy and resources
In addition to this, upcycling has the advantage of offering cost effective alternatives enabling people and businesses to save money and create something unique!
Could Your Business Create A New Revenue Stream Through Upcycling?
Businesses of all kinds and sizes are taking waste, which has historically had a negative value and turning it into something of value, coming up with all kinds of innovative new approaches.
We are seeing an incredible wave of new ideas out there, closing the loop and making upcycling sexy, turning old vintage suitcases into stylish pet beds, creating desirable lotions from waste grease from the hospitality industry and producing fashion accessories from old rags and used tea sacks…
A growing number of businesses are jumping on this green wave and exploring ways to add value to their own waste, contributing to the upcycling boom, creating cool stuff from waste. Could you find a way to incorporate this philosophy and approach into your own business model?
Our range of used equipment for sale is a perfect option for businesses looking for green and affordable ways of managing their waste. Click here to find out more.