Why Is Upcycling Better Than Recycling?
- Years of mindless consumption has taken us to an environmentally disastrous state.
- The pandemic has increased the concern about climate change, leading people to look for more eco-friendly alternatives.
- Conscious consumption is on the rise, shining a light on the possibilities of upcycling.
- The aim of upcycling is to cut down on the environmental effects associated with harvesting the virgin materials used to produce things.
- It helps to bring down the waste that contribute to landfills.
- Upcycling is a wonderful way to rejuvenate your home and spirit.
- Instead of sending discarded items to the neighbouring 'raddiwala', those socially responsible among us are looking at ways on how to re-use them.
- Those who love to hoard and re-purpose old things have found a new liking towards old objects.
- They are seeking to actively reduce waste, and are seeking brands that promote eco-friendly products.
- Unlike recycling, upcycling uses intact parts and pieces of things to make new items that retain vestiges of the original product.
- In many cases, they end up being more attractive than the older ones.
- Many brands are modifying, reusing, or upcycling old products to make new products.
- They are 'social enterprise' businesses with a conscience, championing the cause of re-purposing and re-using.
What Are Upcycled Products?
- Turning broken pieces of crockery into works of art, or remodeling an old trunk, upcycling is a wonderful way to align yourself with the chain of events.
- A sure shot way to engage kids creatively.
- Mothers are utilising the time spent indoors because of the pandemic, to train their kids how to use newspapers, thermocol plates, etc. for school projects.
- Many of them are making crafts items from old plates or spoons, or by painting old bottles.
- Indian artists are creating upcycled pop art with a focus on sustainability. Cutlery, furniture, and pottery, among other things, are getting a makeover.
- A few among them have upcycled discarded glass items to tableware like egg trays, platters, and sleek tumblers.
- While recycling glass bottles can be cost and resource-intensive, entrepreneurs are now looking at upcycling glassware as a viable alternative.
- The artists procure bottles from local as well as wholesale scrap dealers.
- They start with segregation according to quality, followed by a strict cleaning-up.
- The bottles are cut, edges are buffed, to smoothen them, and finally polished.
- The new entrepreneurs supply them to cafes across the country, apart from selling them on social media.
What Are Upcycled Fibers?
- Upcycling a fabric means giving new life to waste fabric or an old garment, which is brought back to a state of fiber, spun, and woven into new fabric.
- Many materials can be regenerated into new fabrics such as cashmere, cotton, jeans, or wool.
- Over time, big brands want to reduce and replace their reliance on non-biodegradable synthetics such as nylon or polyester and use more upcycled and sustainable materials.
- Natural fibers such as cotton waste can be upcycled into performance materials by separating waste fibers by colour.
- It is then given added value with original colours and fiber properties.
- The technology involved uses closed-loop processes and green chemistry principles to revitalise recycled fibers and engineer performance cotton textiles.
- The above processes are achieved through precise manipulation of molecular bonding.
- Wearing regenerated clothes offers numerous environmental and social benefits.
What Is Upcycled Food?
- A significant 8% of greenhouse gas emissions come from food loss and waste.
- Globally, billions of dollars of food are lost or wasted.
- So, wastage of food is an important factor for climate change, calling for sustainability experts to find a solution to this problem.
- According to the Upcycled Food Association (UFA), upcycled food is that food that has a positive effect on the environment.
- The production and procurement of such food items actively deploy a verifiable supply chain and use ingredients that do not fall under the conventional category of ingredients consumed by the human.
- It contributes to the creation of a more resilient and sustainable food system and offers the opportunity to feed growing populations without the need for more limited natural resources.
- A high-fiber and protein-rich fiber made of soya pulp or defatted upcycled sunflower seeds, or, upcycling discarded coffee cherry pulp into a bakery ingredient-all of these are recent innovations in upcycled food.
- The UFA is introducing a certification standard to develop markets for upcycled food.
- Starting a business in upcycled food is also financially viable because consumers perceive them to be 'value-added' products.
What Are Upcycled Clothes?
- The fashion industry is among the largest polluters.
- While fast fashion and sweatshops have long dominated the space, people have been leaning towards sustainable alternatives.
- Whether it is an heirloom sari or a vintage pair of jeans, most things have got a makeover, since the owners have got more time in their hands, ever since the pandemic began.
- There is a change in consumer behaviour as well. Even they are opting for old clothes to the new ones.
- Brides looking at socially distanced weddings are planning to buy pre-owned or second-hand wedding dresses.
- Second-hand, upcycled, and vintage clothes took off in a big way in 2020.
- Creating new clothes out of old is the biggest trend in fashion right now.
- The restrictions imposed by the pandemic has led to designers using what they have in the studio, instead of buying new fabrics.
- Some brands are running a zero-waste operation, by upcycling waste fabrics and saris into beautiful and functional garments.
- Others are exploring how to re-use 1970's bags, others are creating patch-worked outerwear from existing garments.
- Some are exploring how to make jackets out of used denim.
- Inspired by the indigenous ideology of re-purposing, reclaiming, and re-using, many of their collections utilise post-production leftovers.
What Are Upcycled Purses?
- Did you know that you can make a purse out of an old recycled book?
- What you are going to need is a book with an attractive cover, some coordinating fabric, a utility knife, a sewing machine, needles and thread, pre-made handles, some craft glue, and coloured markers that match your book.
- To begin, cut off the pages from the book with the utility knife.
- Then use the marker to fill in any spots where the marker may have worn off.
- Cut the fabric into triangular shapes and sew them.
- Attach them with the glue to the base of the book, and also attach the handles.
- And, voila! You have a cute purse ready in no time at all!
- Purses are also made from recycled plastics and appeals to the environmentally-conscious buyer.
What Is Upcycled Paper?
- Traditional paper made from trees contains more than 65 chemicals and wastes a lot of water.
- Some companies are making sustainable tree-free paper from secondary agro and textile waste, thus saving trees and water.
- Handmade paper can be made from the coffee husk and tea leaves.
- The husk adds a beautiful texture when blended with cotton, and acquires a beautiful brown colour.
- The husk is converted to a pulp and a gorgeous sheet of coffee husk paper is created.
- This paper can be used to make interesting bags, book covers, invites, journals, or notebooks.
- Handmade paper can also be made from residual plant fiber.
- The plants whose fibers are commonly used are banana, coconut, flax, lemongrass, mulberry, etc.
- For example, after the extraction of lemongrass oil, the fiber is considered as waste.
- But it can be used to make strong and smooth paper.
Why Are Upcycled Products More Expensive?
- We as a society tend to view waste as useless or worthless, when in fact it can be a valuable resource.
- It may have a past and a story to tell.
- If we compare the prices of upcycled products with other mass-produced goods, we would find their prices to be more expensive.
- They are often seen in upscale gift shops-things like bowls made from colourful magazines or vases made out of pricey beer bottles.
- Sellers of upcycled products often hear queries from customers who wonder why those products are so expensive.
- But if we think holistically about the work that goes into them or the benefits like reducing plastic waste, then the high price point is justified.
- Products that have been upcycled require imagination and skill to transform them into something new.
- Upcycling is a challenging process because no two things are the same.
- For example, most reclaimed materials that come into the hands of upcycled clothes sellers must first be washed, spruced up, and sewn before they can be made into new materials.
- Since most of the old clothes are dirty and torn, the process takes a great deal of time and money.
- Upcycled products may be a little expensive, but they are a good value for money.
- And, eco-friendliness being the new mantra, they are a sure shot business proposition.
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