Thursday, September 3, 2009

Upcycling: The Greener Path

Reduce, reuse and recycle are three words that haunt me everyday. How can I use less? What can I do to reuse what I already have? And, what more can be recycled? Now, the latest environmentally conscious word “upcycle” has proven to be even more of a challenge. It is easy to understand the process of recycling by means of breaking down a material then using that material to make something new. However, the idea of creating a second life for a package or product from its inception is a complex concept that needs more explaining and exploring. More on Brainzooming...


  1. Hi Nancy, thanks for the great article on "upcycling!" Although I work in the packaging industry on behalf of a glass manufacturer, upcycling is a new term for me.

    However, I was wondering if you are familiar with "precycling?" This is a term we often use to describe the process of thinking about the recyclability of packaging before purchasing products, so that you purchase more products that are entirely recyclable--such as glass.

    Glass is infinately recyclable, and has an infinate number of "second lives" as glass containers are essentially reincarnated again and again as new glass packaging.

    Let me know if you'd ever like to learn more about precycling or what my client is doing to improve glass recycling!


  2. Yes, I love glass and have been working in fused glass for years. I am now working with plastic because I feel it is something that needs addressing. Before I started working in upcycled plastic, I did not realize just how toxic it is and how much of it is not recycled.

  3. Hey Nancy,

    Great article on upcycling and very creative art work. I've been following this term and the company that is commercializing the concept, Terracycle.

    I work with, the largest online repository of alternative uses for everyday products. Please check out the site when you have time, as our goal is to extend the usability of everyday products via our proprietary technology platform, saving consumers money, minimizing waste, and saving the environment by limiting the use of landfills.

    On September 22nd we're kicking off the "AltUse Packaging" promotion, which challenges our user community to create alternative uses for packaging products to minimize waste--we'll award a prize for the most innovative packaging alternative use and for the most packaging alternative uses submitted by a user. I'd like to feature you on our home page and potentially feature some of your work as an altuse of the day during the promotion period. Or I'm simply open to any suggestions that you may have to increase the awareness and effectiveness of the event.

    Thanks for your work in this space, and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.


  4. Mike:

    Love! So glad you commented and found me. Look forward to learning more about what you are doing. Sounds like we have the same concerns about packaging. Your packaging challenge is a great way of awareness to the possibilities of upcycling.

    Thanks for thinking of me for your site! I would love to discuss this further...


  5. great article! lots of food for thought. I will be thinking of ways to reduce, reuse and recyle. I would love to incorporate it into my art.