"Nature does not know the concept of waste; the only species capable of making something no one desires is the human species." - Gunter Pauli
Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives
Every day, people everywhere churn out mountains of plastic and non-biodegradable waste which threaten to eclipse our living spaces. At one point in time people all over the world simply threw their “waste” onto the ground where it was reabsorbed into the earth. The idea of waste as we know it today was a completely foreign concept. Modern attitudes around waste and our general lack of awareness about the amount and types of trash we produce indicate the desperate need for an innovative new approach to this issue. Upcycling, the practice of converting waste materials into products of greater value, is a philosophy that transforms the way we conceive of waste. Upcycling is not just a solution to a problem, but a new method of thinking about and working with an asset (formerly known as garbage) which is already present in abundance in our communities.
The Berkana Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working in partnership with a rich diversity of people around the world who strengthen their communities by working with the wisdom and wealth already present in their people, traditions and environment. Berkana believes that upcycling is a practice and way of thinking that can lead to more self-reliance and resilience in communities everywhere. We’ve created this online portal to provide a rich learning space to advance our collective knowledge around how to transform waste into an asset. Berkana’s beliefs about how change happens begin with the practice of “naming”: We recognize that pioneers often act in isolation, unaware that they are part of a broader community of kindred practitioners.
By noticing and naming the practice of upcycling, Berkana invites a learning community to form in which practitioners exchange ideas and co-create new solutions. We hope the practice of upcycling will become a natural way of living—that it becomes just what we do. By sharing stories from around the world, we will begin to demonstrate that upcycling isn’t some harebrained idea; instead, it is simply a better way to live on this small planet. In our work at Berkana for the past four years, we have learned that it is through these kinds of communities that learning accelerates, and healthy and robust practices develop quickly. As communities of practice develop their expertise and stay together, emergence into a system of influence becomes possible.
I found an entry on a website called Wise Geek that contained an interesting definition of upcycling. Always love to see the term getting out there! Also interesting in light of...
Upcyced AccessoriesLast Updated on 2013-05-15 at 20:15These upcycling artists have created a variety of fashion accessories in their efforts to reduce waste production. More »
Join the Trashure Campaign!Last Updated on 2012-04-02 at 18:49The Upcycling Initiative Oaxaca is starting an exciting new partnership with the Kaospilots program in Denmark. Five amazing students are coming to Oaxaca to help us determine the... More »
Pepenafest 2010Last Updated on 2011-10-09 at 17:38Aquí está una galeria de fotos del Pepenafest, el festival para el uso creativo de la basura que llevó a cabo en el D.F., México de las 14 a las 24 de octubre, 2010. ¡Que... More »
One Man's Trash Becomes ArtLast Updated on 2011-10-09 at 17:36Making art out of everyday objects goes back to the 1920s, when Marcel Duchamp turned a urinal upside down, scrawled the letters "R. Mutt" on one side, and titled the thing... More »
Visiting La Colonia RenacimientoLast Updated on 2011-10-09 at 17:20This week I visited the dump. For all of my big talk about how much I love garbage and have a passion for trash, I am ashamed to say that I haven't been to a landfill since I was... More »
Eco-Casas en el Basurero de OaxacaLast Updated on 2011-10-09 at 17:16These are shots taken by SiKanda and friends during their recent collaboration with Techamos la Mano Oaxaca and other civil organizations in the city of Oaxaca. The purpose was... More »