The Re-Up on Recycling

Written by on November 26, 2021

What is recycling?

“to process (something, such as liquid body waste, glass, or cans) in order to regain material for human use” (Merriam-Webster, 2021). 

What is upcycling?

“to recycle in such a way that the resulting product is of a higher value than the original item” (Merriam-Webster, 2021).

What is downcycling?

“to recycle in such a way that the resulting product is of a lower value than the original item” (Merriam-Webster, 2021).


Why is recycling so important?

  • prevents pollution
  • reduces the need to harvest new raw materials
  • saves energy
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • saves money
  • reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills
  • allows products to be used to their fullest extent

What are some ways you can recycle?

Plastic is one of the peskiest items involved in recycling with its overabundance in production and its single use. However, with the changing of the times, innovative alternatives are shared throughout the world wide web for users of plastic to implement. For example, “you can cut off the bottom halves of the plastic bottles and plant seedlings in them” (Koop, 2021). You can also invest in replacing your single use plastic products with eco-friendly substitutes, such as, “biodegradable toothbrushes, biodegradable paper stemmed cotton buds and biodegradable bamboo straws to name a few” (Koop, 2021).

The reduction of food waste is another important concept of recycling. To practice this, you can compost any inedible parts of your fruits and vegetables to add to your garden. You can also take, for instance, peeled potato skins, add oil and salt to them and bake them until crispy and delicious.  

Of course, you can always look up where’s the closest recycling location to your place of residence. Make sure to research what the company will or will not take to recycle prior. Some organizations will not take Styrofoam products and others ask that you clean out all receptacles before dropping them off. 

 Why is upcycling so important? 

According to the website Unisan, “Upcycling essentially helps you achieve two of the 3 ‘R’s of recycling: REDUCE and REUSE. It helps you reduce what is going to landfill, and reuses the product you were going to throw away, giving it a second life, without the need for “degrading” it” (Unisan, 2020).

What are some ways to upcycle? 

One way in which you can upcycle and save cost is by repurposing your old clothing. You can transform old sweaters into dogs and/or cats’ sweaters. You can cut a shirt or pair of pants to become a new piece of clothing, such as a crop top or shorts. You could also take old clothing that’s no longer of value and use them for rags to clean with. 

Do you enjoy gardening? Do you have extra shoes lying around that no longer serve their purpose? Why not fill them up with some soil and plant some beautiful flowers in them? Have a discarded wheelbarrow or toilet around? You could make yourself your own eccentric garden on a budget that won’t place a strain on your wallet.

There are many uses for a wide variety of objects that you may consider getting rid of!

Why is downcycling so important?

As stated by O. Berk (2018), 

downcycling helps protect the environment by eliminating waste and making new products out of something old that would otherwise end up in a landfill. The downcycling process also offers benefits such as: energy cost saving, reduced pollution, decreased manufacturing costs and environmental protection.

What are some ways to downcycle? 

As claimed by Freshkills Park (2020), 

A common example of the process includes transforming plastic bottles into carpeting or fleece fibers and later turning fleece and carpeting materials into plastic lumber products. Downcycling eliminates waste and by using less virgin plastic to make new materials, there is a reduction in energy costs for production, reduced pollution, decreased manufacturing costs and a slow-down of landfill growth. While there are some advantages to down/recycling, consumers should be encouraged to reduce and reuse. Upcycling is a creative opportunity to add value by extending the life of already produced plastic. However, whether downcycled, recycled, or upcycled, the best approach to keeping plastic out of the landfill is to begin decreasing our demand so it is not produced in the first place.

Now that you know:

It’s important to keep in mind that an active participation in recycling and its practices will aide in producing less waste. By the continuation of recycling services and the endless revolutionary ideas that practice upcycling, you can make a difference, no matter how small!



“Recycle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster

“Upcycle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster

“Downcycle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster

Koop, F. (2021, January 22). Why is recycling so important? The dirty truth behind our trash . ZME Science.

What does upcycling mean and why is it so important? what is the difference between recycling and upcycling? Unisan UK. (2020, August 26) 

Edward. (2018, May 30). What is downcycling? : . Glass, Plastic, Metal Bottles and Caps Wholesale – O.Berk®. 

It’s all downcycled from here. Freshkills Park. (2020, June 22) 


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