History of Upcycling

How did it all begin?

The term upcycle began to gain traction in the mid 90s. Then in 2002,
William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s book ‘Cradle to Cradle:
Remaking the Way We Make Things’ brought the term into the public eye,
and solidified its use in pop culture. McDonough and Braungart were
pioneers in the field of upcycling, advocating that we should all
strive to extend a products life. Today, that idea is interpreted as
meaning we should create from what is being discarded; whenever
But isn’t that just recycling?

Some would say that upcycling must move goods or supplies up the supply
chain while recycling does not. Others would conclude that upcycling is
a physical process and recycling is a chemical process. Still other
definitions state that for something to be considered upcycled there
must be an increase in worth or quality. Because one can find truth in
all of these explanations, we use a broad definition that includes them
all. Upcycling is taking an item that is no longer needed or wanted and
giving it new life as something that is either useful or creative
Why has Upcycling become so popular?

The increased awareness of environmental responsibility and a slow
economy has led to a major increase in upcycling. The college student
short on cash may upcycle their out of fashion jeans by adding a few
seams and rips instead of buying a new pair all together. Home owners
are looking for ways to renovate with salvaged, and in some cases, free
materials. The green mom on a budget may upcycle her old clothes into
clothes for her children. This innovative spirit and environmental
consciousness has led to upcycling in nearly all areas of life. From
green companies to your Mother’s kitchen, people are looking to save
money and the planet. Upcycling does both.