The term upcycling hit the mainstream due to William McDonough and Michael Braungart, authors of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. Upcycling simply means taking something that seemed to be destined for the trash and turn it into something useful. This results in less waste and even can save money through reusing and not having to buy again.
An example of upcycling is the photo on the right. It is a handbag that is made from 100% recycled seat belts, which would have been destined to go to the trash.
Many companies and individuals today are finding very creative ways to turn items destined for landfills into products that can be sold. A true green enterprise. Examples of upcycled products on the market today are: reusable bags made from old plastic bags, recycled plastic bottles or t-shirts, purses made from used seat belts. TerraCycle, Inc. now has many products that fall under the category of being upcycled. They sell bags which are made from Oreo wrappers and even backpacks made from Capri Sun drink pouches.
You can have fun with upcycling. You can take items from your home and with your children come up with craft ideas made from recycled materials. Make sure your items are safe and clean before using them. Maybe you can make things that you can sell to others. You can make money while reducing your carbon footprint.
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