During these months leading up to the end of the year, I would like to talk to you about different aspects of Upcycling: I will do so on the first Tuesday of the month in order to help you discover this way of creating new objects. At the end of every post, you will find two benefits of Upcycling. I am sure that you will discover new things and possible doubts you might have on this fascinating trend will get clarified. Off we go!

Lately I have had the opportunity to be interviewed by several media and, during these interviews, many times the same question arises: what is the real difference between upcycling and recycling? Today, in this post, we are going to answer this question.

Upcycling design difference between upcycling and recycling

These are the differences between upcycling and recycling

When we talk about recycling, we refer to an industrial process through which a residue is transformed into a new material and is used for the production of new objects. Upcycling is a term coined recently, also known as creative recycling. In upcycling objects are used, by means of creativity, to create products that have a higher value than the original object. Or, likewise: to transform waste into valuable objects using one´s imagination.

Botanic_Lucirmás difference between upcycling and recycling

Yes, it´s true that for upcycling we start from a material or object that if we would not have done so, in many occasions would have ended up in the recycling bin, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Upcycling, more than in recycling, consists in re-imagining uses of existing products and materials and converting them into something new.

jewels upcycled difference between recycling and upcycling

Upcycling is a creative resource to be sustainable and also to provide more value to objects and furniture in our home. A new piece of furniture will be able to tell a story after a few years, but a piece of furniture or object that arises from upcycling already tells a story in itself. Not only by the transformation of the object, but rather by the idea and the techniques used for the object to become what it is today.

Upcycling is reworking, reinventing, trying to see new forms within the already existing ones without losing the original touch that identifies them. This is another big difference between upcycling and recycling: whereas, when something is recycled, the material or object loses its original form, the beauty of upcycling is that the original object can still be clearly identified after assuming its new function. It is a kind of tribute, a praise and splendor of what the object once used to be.

Upcycling glass copy

One of the bigger challenges of upcycling is about providing a great value to forgotten or with an about to end lifespan objects, but does not necessaryly mean that these are not valuable: you can do upcycling with exclusive materials and very expensive products. Upcycling means a new wrinkle, is thinking about other use, about taking advantage of the available resources we have to create new objets which we give a fresh touch through designer’s creativity.

Here you have two benefits of upcycling:

1. It is a necessary practice, because it reduces the need of new raw materials to create new products

2. It stimulates the creativity and handmade work

I encourage you to make an observation exercise at home,: focus in one object you find old or out-of-style and then, you have to think of a new use for it. I assure you that the result would surprise you!