So, why should we upcycle? Why shouldn’t we just throw away the things we no longer use? What’s wrong with buying new?
Waste not want not…
Upcycling is at the heart of sustainability.
Human beings are very wasteful. In fact, we are the only creatures on earth that create waste that is not naturally recycled in some way, either to feed the planet or be used as shelter by other creatures.
On average, humans produce 4.3 pounds of waste per day and each year we dump around 2.12 billion tons of waste at landfill. Most of this waste is stuff that we buy, then discard within a few months, stuff that is still perfectly usable or can easily be turned into something usable.
The saddest part about these statistics is that there are people in the world who have next to nothing and would give anything just to have a roof over their head and food to eat. The people who discard these usable items are usually people who have more than they need and don’t consider the impact that their individual footprint has on our planet.
What is upcycling?
Upcycling, by definition is to take old or waste materials that are useless or unwanted and turn them into something more useful, better quality and of more value than they originally were. To create an improved product from discarded waste.
In our consumer driven world we are taught that all products have a shelf life, that once they are worn out they are of no use anymore. This is just not the case, and this attitude desperately needs to change. If we have the imagination and creativity to design and produce these products then we have the same capability to repurpose them.
As well as upcycling and recycling our waste materials, we should also be looking at the products we are buying in the first place. Purchasing items that are made from reused materials and/or sustainable materials and products that are built to be disassembled and reused and that are energy efficient.
Upcycling isn’t just a hobby or something that people do as a fun project once in a while, it is a necessity for the planet and feeds into a very important mindset that all of us should adopt.
Don’t lose it, reuse it!