Posts Tagged ‘recycling’

Upcycling – not just for the amateurs

September 20, 2011

Everybody has heard of recycling in this day and age and most people have heard of upcycling but I have to (shamefully) admit that before I visited Ecobuild this year I hadn’t realised just how big the concept was, despite it being around for over a decade.

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of a better quality or higher environmental value. The first recorded use of the term was in 1994 when Thornton Kay of Salvo interviewed Reiner Pilz of Pilz GmbH.

“Recycling? I call it downcycling. They smash bricks, they smash everything. What we need is upcycling, where old products are given more value, not less.”

When you think about it, you’ll probably realise you’ve been upcycling for years without realising it, the box you’re using as a CD rack, the old CD’s that you’re using as coasters, or even the fairy liquid bottle that the kids turned into a work of art (with a little help from Neil Buchanan, Art Attack and copious quantities of PVA glue).

Away from the domestic side of things, many companies specialise in ‘upcycled’ pieces or produce one off upcycled products.

Bel & Bel, expert Spanish upcyclers with a contemporary/vintage style recreated vintage Vespas as seats.

Vespa Seats are made from upcycled 'dead' Vespa scooters. Picture from ©bel&bel.