Upcycle Vs. Recycle

Reprinted from Threads Magazine, February/March 2015 page 49

Recycling consumes or destroys something to make a new product. Two examples are: shredding tires and using them to create playground mats, or crushing glass and reforming it for new uses.

There’s also the traditional reuse, such as secondhand clothes, which are reused in their original form.

Upcycling adds value to the original item, typically through labor and material. Examples include embroidering an existing garment or repainting a dresser and adding new knobs.

Repurposing changes the function, such as adding a rope to a tire to make it a swing seat, or using a pill case to pack earring sets for travel.

An upcycling project may include repurposing and transforming. Some examples are: when a man’s shirt is turned into a woman’s garment, a T-shirt becomes a shopping bag, or a tire is made into sandals.

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