12/24/2014

Sustainable way of living: Upcycling

 

The concept of upcycling encloses an actual school of thought, a pillar of ecology, a way of living fully sustainable.

Upcycling is defined as recycling or creative reuse, that is the art of converting, through creativity, materials or unused products in new materials, innovative products, of better quality and lower environmental impact. The same founding principles behind our quality standards reflected in Open Mind, a customized wall cladding system made of hand-crafted panels.

The term was invented for the first time in 1994 by a German engineer, Reiner Pilz, who, speaking of the European management of waste disposal, in contrast to the traditional recycling process - downcycling (destruction process and therefore subtraction of value) -  brings up the concept of upcycling.

“What we need is upcycling – where old products are given more value, not less.”

The goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by reusing the existing ones. This way, by reducing the use of new raw materials in the production of new objects, disposal costs, energy consumption, and consequently also the greenhouse gases emissions and air pollution are reduced.

Recycling vs.Upcycling

Recycling consists in the transformation or conversion of potentially useful materials of a product and the creation of a new product or material. The upcycling differs substantially from recycling in terms of manufacturing processes, environmental impact and the value of manufactured objects.

The industrial process of gathering, classifying and processing of waste is defined as recycling. This process obviously implies use of energy and natural resources, operating costs and air pollution. And, on the opposite of the process of upcycling, materials and products made by recycling have a lower quality than the original product (downcycling).

So, upcycling is a sustainable way of interpreting recycling: find objects that are no longer of use and give them a new life by converting them into new objects of better quality, for the benefit of the environment!

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