We often hear Upcycling and Recycling used interchangeably in conversations and are generally understood to mean the same thing!
But the truth of the matter is that the two processes are different!
Big Karma is here to clear all that up!
Let's take a quick dip into the fundamental differences between Upcycling and Recycling and see what each offers to the environmental action plan!
First-Up- A Quick Refresher Look At Recycling!
It's the process & practice of turning our common everyday waste into a reusable material or product!
The whole Recycling process involves taking our everyday household items, like paper, glass, and plastics, and then breaking those down into 'raw materials' that get used to create something 'new!'
Recyclables are collected from our homes and cities and taken to a recycling plant.
The recyclables are sorted into types at the recycling plant and then broken down and used to create new material or products!
Certain recyclables, like aluminum and glass, are 100% recyclable while others, like paper and plastic, slightly decrease in quality every time it is recycled,- consequently, the new recycled items would often be of slightly lower quality.
Now that we have the Low Down on Recycling, we can take a deeper dive into Upcycling!
What is upcycling?
Formerly known as "creative recycling," Upcycling is a particular form of recycling that turns waste into a higher quality material or product-Waste Upgrade!
You do not need to send items to a recycling center to get broken down if you want to Upcycle!
Instead, you get to use your creativity to figure out new ways to repurpose or create new fun stuff & things from “trash”, sound fun right?
Here are four fun & creative DIY approaches to Upcycling you can try at Home!
#1:Wine corks = Vases
#2:Egg cartons = Seedling garden
#3:Old Pallet = Vertical Garden!
#4:Tin Cans = Lanterns
The definition of UpCycling in the Cambridge English Dictionary :
"The activity of making new furniture, objects, etc. out of old or used things or waste material."
But,Upcycling isn't just transforming objects into 'better' versions of themselves though!
Often, items get repurposed to offer a new and unique use.
Take our Handcrafted Upcycled Eco-Friendly Clear Pendant Necklace, for example,
Here at Big Karma; we have repurposed and upcycled an otherwise non- recyclable item!
ie, Vaping Cartridges- and created something entirely fresh and new, and we have diverted this non-recyclable item out of the waste stream!
This necklace is carefully handcrafted with pieces that were rendered unusable before!
Benefits of Recycling and Upcycling
Recycling and Upcycling have played important roles in reducing the total waste that ends up in landfills worldwide, reducing the demand to manufacture & create new materials. Ultimately, less pollution and carbon emissions are produced by manufacturers!
But here is a little something that might have slipped by you...
"China's "National Sword" policy banned the import of plastics, responsible for processing almost half of the world's recyclable waste for the past quarter-century."
False Sense of Solution.
The recycling process and the idea it creates- provide folks with a false sense of solution to the current environmental crisis.
Since 2018, when you recycle your waste, you might be adding to a landfill...
There is just not enough infrastructure in the States for companies to recycle, and with no infrastructure or profit base, there's a lot less recycling happening...
So which one is it: Upcycle or Recycle?
There is a good reason behind the order of "Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle."
Recycling may seem practical, but it's not the answer.
We need to reduce our carbon impact on our planet, reuse the existing materials, and stop relying on Recycling as much as we do.
To create actual change, we need to revisit our recycling approach and start looking toward other sustainable solutions.
These would be easy, real, sustainable changes we could make as a whole and as individuals, changes like Upcycling.
We can eliminate ineffective recycling 'solutions' that create this runaround and make the changes that actually impact the environment.
Not better, wiser!
To reuse and Upcycle reduces the need for Recycling and is a much wiser & smarter option for our environment! However, this does not mean to stop buying recycled products!
Plus, Upcycling hosts some awesome perks for the kids!
Upcycling can be a fun way to introduce your kids to a greener lifestyle.
Your kids will love using their imaginations, coming up with all sorts of new ways to use things around the house! It's a fun and easy way to get them involved in green living!
Once something has served its purpose, or you can't think of new creative ways to repurpose it- it is wiser and more eco-friendly to recycle than sending it to a landfill.
If you are to recycle, please make sure to rinse out your recyclables before putting them in the bin!
- And make sure to do some research on what's recyclable in your area, so you don't chance the possibility of throwing away your actual trash into the recycling bin-It depletes resources and wastes more energy.
Now you know the differences between Recycling and Upcycling and you’re armed with some insights that can help you make wiser green decisions!