This is a blog from Neena Creates about upcycling:
i have known about 'upcycling' for about a year now. i was perusing the pages of Etsy when i stumbled upon an item that had the word 'upcycle' in its title. curious, i decided to do a little research. here is what i found-
upcycling, as defined by wikipedia, "is a component of sustainability in which waste materials are used to provide new products. It is generally a reinvestment in the environment. "Upcycling is the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value." This process allows for the reduction of waste and virgin material use."
the term was created by a german chemist, Michael Braungart, and a u.s. architect, William McDonough in their 2002 book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. in it they express that we can be "wasteful" if things that we make can go completely back into nature or reborn into a new product. they use a cherry tree as an example. it "wastes" when the leaves and pits fall to the ground, but then is reborn back into the earth as new trees, bacteria, food for birds, etc, etc. sounds like i read the book, huh? weeeell, it's on my long list of books i need to read but in researching through the internet, i hear Braungart and McDonough's words loud and clear. most importantly, i understand.
the concept is wonderful, fascinating, full of possibilities. i started looking through my closet a little differently (instead of throwing away this shirt, how can i change it to make it new to me?). i thought about my etsy shop a little differently. for too long, i have been bound by the notion that 'going green' meant buying 'new' green products. i missed a very important part of the 3 R's-recycle, reduce, REUSE! there is already so much stuff that has been produced and probably thrown aside for newer stuff, why not reuse, or give new life to our 'waste'? it's so poetic. let us give way to an ecological system of being kind to our earth by supporting products that support nature, that can go back into nature.
there is much i need to learn from Braungart and McDonough's book that i am excited to get to and share with you like the idea that the marketplace is "reshaping to generate goods and services that have ecological, social, and economic value". but for now, let me show you what upcycling can do:
STEPHANIE FIZER Mini Sweet Kokeshi Recycled LOCKET SET By Polarity
polarity lockets are made from used steel auto parts, creating unique and beautiful jewelry
"More than half of the steel we see around us has already been recycled from scrap."
visit polarity's other etsy shop, uncorked, where the cork she uses to make all things wonderful, has been grown in "managed forests in Portugal where the bark is carefully harvested..." using "a process that ensures the forests will remain undamaged!"
choose your own fabric...recycled vintage fabric quilt coasters-set of 4
this item by rikrak uses vintage fabrics to make into beautiful coasters. the shop boasts "upcycled vintage fabric creations, & fabulous goodies made from new recycled felt! "
it is definitely exquisite and fun. also, check out her beautiful blog where you can see the goings on of rikrak, filled with how to's, mommying, crafting, and eco living!
i was ecstatic and proud to find that my tee is on etsy's gift guide for environmentally friendly! i scavenge for clothing that looks in need of a pick me up. upcycling is a new adventure which has inspired me to add another dimension to my shop that i would not have imagined of doing before. it seems we women find ourselves in a "fast fashion" culture where you can buy clothing so cheap and then in an instant just throw it away when the next trend comes, hopefully you give to goodwill or salvation army. but there is so much clothing out there, maybe it's time for something different.
it is a concept that pushes the already eco-friendlies and gives a fresh perspective for those in need of an eco push. upcycle, try it out, use it in a sentence, find more companies that do it, spread it around, look for it, understand it or just do it!