Benefits of Upcycling

Now you know what is upcycling? and how to upcycle? What are the other benefits of upcycling? There are many fantastic benefits to upcycling aswell as the environmental impact it brings. Upcycling has become very popular in recent years and we hope that it will positively benefit the environment. Other benefits of upcycling include sense of achievement for making something new. Upcycling is great because you are learning an activity which doesn’t require the use of a screen. You are also learning many skills when you start upcycling.

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Benefits of Upcycling – Why is upcycling better than recycling?

In our post upcycling vs recycling, we went through some of the differences between upcycling and recycling. We also looked at the definition of upcycling and recycling, showing the differences. The distinction between upcycling and recycling is confusing for some. However, to define upcycling, to reuse a product by turning it into a product of higher value or quality. To define recycling, to transform waste materials into new materials.

The benefits of upcycling may argue that upcycling is actually better than recycling. Here are some reasons as to why people may believe this:

Benefits of Upcycling – Recycling Processing Plants

First, the large scale effort of recycling. The rise of recycling has led to a grand scale and has enabled the growth of large recycling processing plants. You may argue that some of these recycling plants, especially the bigger ones, can create pollutants during the actual recycling process. Also, these plants will use a lot of electricity. This is obviously an issue. It shouldn’t be that a process to prevent pollution and improve the environment, is actually causing some pollution. Although this is not true for all processing plants. The effort put into recycling has made a monumental change in attempting to reduce our carbon footprint. However, some recycling processes are better than others.

Benefits of Upcycling – The People

The people is what makes upcycling better. With upcycling, people can learn many new skills. Skills such as carpentry, upholstery, sewing, crocheting etc. These newly learnt skills can lead to a business venture, this means small, local businesses will be created. On the other hand, recycling plants create jobs too. Although, the learning of new skills appears to improve people’s mental health as mentioned by the NHS.

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What is the purpose of upcycling?

You can look at many different purposes of upcycling because there are so many benefits of upcycling. The main purpose of upcycling, helping the environment. Upcycling reduces waste and reduces the amount of new products made for a more sustainable life. Upcycling definitely helps reduce the amount of products going to landfill. The key idea, decreasing the number of raw materials put into new products. In effect, reducing pollution and energy.

Is upcycling sustainable?

One of the many benefits of upcycling is that it’s very sustainable. The process of upcycling is to reuse anything that is going to be thrown away or no longer used and made into something new. This should prevent lots of things from being thrown into landfill. The definition of sustainability, to maintain a balance of the planets natural resources. In order to move closer to this state, we must produce less from natural resources. We have already developed a throwaway culture. Products are too cheap and easy to manufacture. This creates waste while people keep wanting the next best thing.

Upcycling can change this and is changing this. The skills and artwork created by upcyclers are becoming more popular to consumers. This slowly but surely in itself could be the beginning of a change in the behaviour of consumers. If more and more people begin to upcycle and purchase upcycled goods then there will be less large scale raw material plants used to manufacture certain products. You may argue this may cause employment issues. However, there’s an increasing rate of sole trader and small, local businesses opening up their very own upcycling stores. This will create jobs for many people in itself. Whether it’s just as a sole trader or a business with a small number of employees.

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How is upcycling sustainable?

As a concept upcycling is very sustainable. The main idea behind upcycling, to reuse or transform unused materials into something that people will make use of. In theory, upcycling is sustainable. If everything is reused then there’s no requirement to produce more goods. In the current climate, this is clearly an extremely far away thought but the increase in upcycling is definitely helping. With this popularity increase, more people will become closer to living sustainably.

What is an example of upcycling?

There are thousands of upcycling examples, from upcycling furniture to upcycling clothing and everything inbetween. The beauty of upcycling is that anything and everything has the potential to be upcycled and upcycled into anything and everything. There really is no limit to what could be made. For anyone wanting to get into upcycling there is nothing stopping them. Anything in the home that isn’t being used anymore can be made into anything. Whether it’s artwork or to repurpose something into something else which will be used for another reason. One example upcycled quite often are delivery pallets into tables and chairs. Another example could be some old jeans cut and made into a bag. Have a look at our post on upcycled desk ideas.

If you are looking for ideas and inspiration on what to upcycle, have a look at what many other upcyclers have done on our forum.

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An upcycled bag by jeanstas-7

Benefits of Upcycling – How does upcycling help the environment?

As we touched on earlier, upcycling is very environmentally friendly. Upcycling helps the environment by reducing the use of raw materials. Raw materials are used when new products are made. These raw materials are usually made up of finite resources. The energy used and pollution created in the manufacturing processes of many products affect the environment. In addition to this, the throwaway society we currently live in, creates more waste. More and more new products are made and just as quickly these same products are thrown into landfill if they cannot be recycled. This is where upcycling comes in. One of the major benefits of upcycling, reducing waste that would normally go to landfill.

Upcycling has created a reason for people to hold onto their old pieces of furniture, give it a new lease of life. This of course does not only help the environment but also saves people money going out and buying a new piece of furniture. Not to mention the skills and sense of achievement once the upcycling project has been completed. For more information check out our other blog post, What is Upcycling? Why is it important?

What does downcycle mean?

To define downcycling, something that’s broken down into many smaller pieces and reused as small components. Downcycling creates many smaller items of lower value than the original product. Similarly to recycling in respect of low value items created, downcycling breaks ‘down’ current products which are no longer used and does make use of small pieces which make up the larger products. One example of downcycling is the transformation of plastic bottles into fibers which then gets upcycled into fabrics, carpets and clothing. Once, the plastic has been downcycled whatever is made can not be downcycled again.


Plastic bottles ready for downcycling.

If you are a beginner please check out the forum and ask a question, I’m sure many people can help out with queries you may have. Hopefully you will have a better idea of what kind of project you want to start with and which forum to post on if you get stuck. Meanwhile if you are a more experienced upcycler then I hope you have gained some inspiration to work on a new area of upcycling or an idea for your next project and also help answer some forum questions if you have the time.

Please head on over to the forum to ask questions and also see our other blog posts on everything upcycling.

Furthermore, check out our instagram page @UpcyclerLife to see inspiring projects and #upcyclerlife for a chance of a feature.

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