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Upcycling: over-recycling, creative objects with an added value

26 January 2012

Not long ago the main concept was “recycling”. Today, a new idea is growing with a huge potential: upcycling, i.e. recycling the recycled

Upcycling has an added value compared to recycling. Recycling reuses used materials to create new ones, upcycling often uses the discards of new raw materials. Thanks to creativity, starting from raw materials which would be thrown away without being used, it is possible to obtain products with a higher quality and an added value. This concept was born in 1994 and aims at preventing the waste of materials which could be useful and can be used to create nicer and more original objects. The value added to a re-created object is precisely the basic concept of upcycling.

Upcycling can be applied in several fields, but the world of fashion is undoubtedly the one that features the highest benefits, with glamorous and, sometimes, elegant results. Livia Giuggioli Firth, cinema producer and wife of the Academy Award winner Colin Firth, is one to the greatest supporters of fashion recycling. As a supporter of eco-sustainability, on the red carpet she only wears “environmentally friendly” fashion and she also created “Eco Age”, the first concept store in London dedicated to green life, where everything on sale, from garments to furniture, is recyclable-recycled, perfectly respecting the environment. Other examples of creative and limitless” recycling, where the final product is more precious than the starting one are the postman bags by the Swiss company Freitag, obtained from truck tarpaulins, or the ties and necklaces by Ties and Whimsy, obtained from tie discards, buttons and laces, or the belts by Surya Graf, handmade using bike wheels. Another example are the customized iPad covers by Frederick James, made of recycled jeans, and the leather and fabric bags by CWinnDesigns (on Etsy, web site dedicated to home-made design) obtained from clothes and various discards.

Upcycling exploits the whole potential of new materials, matching the reduced consumption of raw materials with the quality and beauty of green objects.

Upcycled furniture
Freitag bag
Surya Graf belt
Eco Age clutch
Ties and Whimsy


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