Recycling Is Good, Upcycling Is Better
Recycling, as we all know, is essential for the planet. For too long the human race wasted innumerable quantities of resources, from wood, glass and paper, to clothing, furniture and even seemingly useless things like battery acid and food scraps. Practically everything can be reused, be it after a long and technical process at an industrial plant, or simply allocated a new function by its owner.
When you put a recyclable object in its corresponding bin, it's then collected by the council, taken to a sorting centre (where different types of materials are separated), then cleaned, chemically stripped, cut, melted and/or pulped to return it to a malleable state. But this is only half of its journey, as it then needs to be reshaped into whatever it's destined to become. Needless to say, this doesn't all happen in a single place, so a lot of transportation is involved, which means a bigger carbon footprint due to fuel expenditure. Despite this seeming like a convoluted process, it saves huge amounts of wastage going to landfills whilst simultaneously returning materials to both the economy and the environment.
So, that's recycling.
Upcycling, on the other hand, is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into products of better quality or for better environmental value, only without all of the cutting, melting and pulping. Examples are turning tin cans into containers for things like keys and loose change, or knitting old jumpers into new cushion covers. People get extremely creative when it comes to upcycling, as it's often an opportunity to express yourself, improve a skill, personalise your home and maybe even make a little money if your product is of a high enough quality to sell.
If you fancy trying your hand at upcycling, a great place to find inspiration is Pinterest.