I've been asked, What is upcycling? I think it's easy to get a bit confused about what upcycling is specifically. Everyone knows what recycling is...we've all been doing it for years. But, the term upcycling is becoming more popular and with that, a better understanding is in order.
Upcycling is taking something used, and usually something without any more use left in it, and turning it into something new and useful. Depending on the person doing the upcycling and depending on the opinions of others, the upcycled object is supposed to better than it was before. For instance, if I found an old bicycle tire rim that was rusty and not sturdy enough to be used as a bicycle tire rim, then it would be the perfect candidate for an upcycle. It's important to keep in mind that artistic interpretation has a key role in what one finds an object worthy of an upcycle.
Here's where it can get confusing. Remember when I said, the tire rim was not sturdy enough to be used as it was originally created for? This is a gray area. Let's say it was sturdy enough to be used as a tire rim but it was still used and rusty. Is it still a candidate for an upcycle? I think yes. The bottom line is if you take something used and then turn it into something new, useful and beautiful...and you're keeping it out of the landfills...then it's an upcycle!
If you're like me, you like clarity. Here are some green terms broken down that will help you better define your upcycle crafts in the future!
up·cy·cle[uhp-sahy-kuhl] Show IPA verb, up·cy·cled, up·cy·cling, noun verb (used with object)
1. to process (used goods or waste material) so as to produce something that is often better than the original: I upcycled a stained tablecloth into curtains.