Knowledge Builders

who started upcycling

by Okey Breitenberg Published 2 years ago Updated 1 year ago
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What is the history of upcycling?

Reiner Pilz first used the term ‘upcycling’ in an article by Thornton Kay of Salvo in 1994. This was while discussing recycling or as he named it, ‘Downcycling’. Though Upcycling appears to have risen in trends in the last couple of decades, upcycling has actually been around for a lot longer. It just used to be called ‘creative reuse’.

Who invented recycling?

According to Hintons, no one person can be associated with the creation of recycling, but its origins can be traced back to ancient times. Paper might have been one of the first recycled materials, which is said to have happened in Japan in the year 1031. This took place during the Heian Period, during the decline of the Japanese Imperial court.

What is an example of upcycling in architecture?

Simon Rodia 's Watts Towers (1921–1954) in Los Angeles exemplifies upcycling of scrap metal, pottery and broken glass on a grand scale; it consists of 17 structures, the tallest reaching over 30 meters into the Watts skyline. Intellectually, upcycling bears some resemblance to the ready-made art of Marcel Duchamp and the Dadaists.

What is upcycling and creative reuse?

Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products perceived to be of greater quality, such as artistic value or environmental value.

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What is upcycling?

Upcycling, like anything else, is an area of human endeavor with many different styles. Your style and tastes might be different to other people’s, so it’s something well worth cultivating.

What is upcycling in home decor?

Some genius somewhere realized one day that you could transform the look of your home by using old junk that nobody wanted, so long as you had the artistic ability to make it into something new. This sparked the so-called “upcycling” revolution, and practically everybody wanted to give it a go. After all, who doesn’t want to decorate their home for free?

Is it easy to upcycle furniture?

In fact, coming up with your own ideas to upcycle furniture can be incredibly difficult. With that said, upcycling is easier now than ever before, thanks to sites like Pinterest. Pinterest is probably your best bet when it comes to finding inspiration. Every day, people from all over the internet upload pictures of items that they have upcycled. You’ll find literally hundreds of examples of tables and chests of drawers transformed with a bit of DIY.

When was upcycling and downcycling first used?

The terms upcycling and downcycling were first used in print in an article in SalvoNEWS by Thornton Kay quoting Reiner Pilz and published in 1994.

What is the goal of upcycling?

They state that the goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones.

What is the opposite of downcycling?

Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling, which is the other part of the recycling process. Downcycling involves converting materials and products into new materials, sometimes of lesser quality. Most recycling involves converting or extracting useful materials from a product and creating a different product or material.

Why is upcycling considered a process?

In consumer electronics, the process of re-manufacturing or refurbishment of second-hand products can be seen as upcycling because of the reduced energy and material consumption in contrast to new manufacturing. The re-manufactured product has a higher value than disposing or downcycling it. The use of Brewer's spent grain, a waste product of brewing processes, as a substrate in biogas processes eliminates the need for disposal and can generate significant profit to the overall brewing process. Depending on the substrate's price, a profit of approximately 20% of the operational costs is possible. In this process, the biogas plant acts as an "upcycler".

How to use upcycled food?

Another form of upcycling food is to break it down and use it as energy. Engineers have found a way to break the food down into a reusable bio-fuel by pressure cooking it and then they are able to make methane out of the remains which can be used to produce electricity and heat. When the food isn't used in those ways, another way is to just break it down and use it in compost, which will improve the soil. Many types of food waste, such as fruits, vegetables, egg shells, nuts, and nut shells, can be used in compost to enrich soil. A 2019-founded non-profit, The Upcycled Food Association, established certification standards and a logo that allows consumers to be confident of the upcycled food being consumed. Whole Foods named upcycling one of the ten food trends of 2021.

What is the tradition of reusing found objects?

The tradition of reusing found objects ( objet trouvé) in mainstream art came of age sporadically through the 20th century, although it has long been a means of production in folk art. The Amish quilt, for example, came about through reapplication of salvaged fabric. Simon Rodia 's Watts Towers (1921–1954) in Los Angeles exemplifies upcycling of scrap metal, pottery and broken glass on a grand scale; it consists of 17 structures, the tallest reaching over 30 meters into the Watts skyline.

How to convert plastic waste into nanomaterials?

One approach in the field involves the conversion of waste plastics (like LDPE, PET, and HDPE) into paramagnetic, conducting microspheres or into carbon nanomaterials by applying high temperatures and chemical vapor deposition. On a molecular level, the treatment of polymers like polypropylene or thermoplastics with electron beams (doses around 150 kGy) can increase material properties like bending strength and elasticity and provides an eco-friendly and sustainable way to upcycle them. Active research is being carried out for the biotransformation upcycling of plastic waste (e.g., polyethylene terephthalate and polyurethane) into PHA bioplastic using bacteria. PET could be converted into the biodegradable PHA by using a combination of temperature and microbial treatment. First it gets pyrolized at 450 °C and the resulting terephthalic acid is used as a substrate for microorganisms, which convert it finally into PHA. Similar to the aforementioned approach is the combination of nanomaterials like carbon nanotubes with powdered orange peel as a composite material. This might be used to remove synthetic dyes from wastewater.

What is an upcycled item?

Also, the upcycled item is typically better or the same quality as the original.”. An item ready for upcycling can be something you currently have in the house, acquired as a hand-me-down or purchased from a retail outlet, such as a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Three upcyclers share their take on the process, what kind ...

Is upcycling the same as recycling?

Upcycling is not the same as recycling, explains Hipcycle.com. “Recycling takes consumer materials — mostly plastic, paper, metal and glass — and breaks them down so their base materials can be remade into a new consumer product, often of lesser quality,” the website notes.

When did modern recycling start?

Modern recycling, otherwise known as curbside recycling, didn’t really exist in the way we know it until the 1970s. According to History, this shift was prompted by the unease that came with filling landfills to the brim with trash. Until then, the only people who recycled were do-gooders and hippies. And even if average Americans wanted to recycle, it was rather inconvenient to do so. Municipal recycling programs solved this issue, to make it easier for many Americans.

How long has recycling been around?

Though the recycling process is relatively modernized, people have been recycling materials for thousands of years. Early humans understood that resources were scarce, so they had to make the best of what little they had. Scribes painstakingly recycled paper in order to make new paper. Blacksmiths melted down damaged metal to repurpose it into new tools and weapons. Recycling has always been around, but it wasn’t always done as efficiently as it is today.

What did Scribes do with recycled paper?

Scribes painstakingly recycled paper in order to make new paper. Blacksmiths melted down damaged metal to repurpose it into new tools and weapons. Recycling has always been around, but it wasn’t always done as efficiently as it is today. Article continues below advertisement.

Why is recycling important?

Recycling is one of the best ways that we — as individuals — can help minimize our environmental impact. And while it might seem like a fairly modern concept, many of our older readers can undoubtedly remember a time when there was no such thing as recycling.

When was paper first recycled?

Paper might have been one of the first recycled materials, which is said to have happened in Japan in the year 1031 .

Is plastic recycling good?

Plastic, unlike glass and aluminum, is downcycled, which means it can only be repurposed into certain kinds of lower-grade materials, according to Fast Company. As a result, plastic recycling is not often lucrative enough for some companies to participate in.

Is zero-waste or low-waste the recycling of the future?

The concept of zero waste is something that we know quite well at Green Matters. This lifestyle prompts people to produce less waste and invest in sustainable goods, services, and food sources. And while many companies were happy to join the recycling bandwagon, it has been harder to get the largest, most successful ones to adopt any sort of zero-waste thinking.

What Is Upcycling?

Upcycling is the opposite of recycling. Instead of converting existing materials into lower quality ones, upcycling uses existing materials to create sustainable products of greater quality or lower environmental impact.

What is upcycling in recycling?

Upcycling is the opposite of recycling. Instead of converting existing materials into lower quality ones, upcycling uses existing materials to create sustainable products of greater quality or lower environmental impact.

What organizations does Looptworks work with?

Looptworks has developed similar relationships with other organizations, including Alaska Airlines and the Portland Trail Blazers, and each collaboration presents new challenges. “We have to collect, sort, deconstruct and clean the materials before even starting to work with them. Cutting these materials is also challenging as they are not always uniform and you cannot stack or cut them with a CNC machine,” says Scott. Yet those challenges are part of what drives Looptworks’ creative process. “It makes it really fun as the materials dictate what we can make and then creativity and design take over from there.”

What are upcycled products?

Rather than relying on raw materials to create new things, these companies create upcycled products – products made from existing materials including such unusual items as leather airline seats and military uniforms. Let’s take a look at how these companies are proving that “business as usual” can be sustainable too.

Where is Looptworks located?

Looptworks, based in Portland, OR, has a simple mission: “to use only what already exists.” For them, that includes seat covers from airline seats, leather jackets, skis, t-shirts and a bevy of other reclaimed materials. “Mostly, brands and companies come to us with excess materials and we partner with them to find solutions,” says Scott Hamlin, founder of Looptworks.

Is upcycling a part of their business?

Yet upcycling is only part of what makes their business unique. Each item they produce is manufactured by businesses that are either veteran-owned or that employ veterans, providing support to those struggling to make the transition to civilian life. Image courtesy of Sword & Plough.

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