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Up-cycle, Down-cycle, Pre-cycle, Reuse: What's the Difference?

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Up-cycling explained

In my next few entries I will explore these terms we are so often hearing nowadays. First, the newest term I have heard lately is "Up-cycle". I literally had to look up what this means since all of the ideas and pictures I am sent of cool new up-cycle projects seem, to me, like reusing.


In short, up-cycling is reusing; just a little more fancy. The true definition from www.planetpals.com is "Up-cycling is the process by which waste materials are used to provide new, high quality products." So I think what has been done here is splitting the idea of reuse into two forms: up-cycle and down-cycle.


Here's my idea for a good up-cycle project at my house. I'm going to take those empty baby food jars we have at home, attach them to an old salvaged piece of crown molding, put it up on the wall in the kitchen, and voila! We have a nice row of spice jars for all of those tasty herbs we have been growing in the garden.


On www.earth911.com I spotted a really cool idea for those over the door shoe racks. You know the canvas ones that people use for like a year and get tired of? Someone hung it outside against their porch and put delicate seedlings in the pockets. They created vertical garden space in the space-limited urban area they live in. Ever visit www.pinterest.com? One of the boards is called DIY/ Crafts which contains many Up-cycling ideas as well.


up-cycle-down-cycleCheck out this great Up-cycle idea (posted by Shana Nicholson the DIY/ Crafts board). It is a lamp base that she turned into a side table base! Definitely an up-cycle!


There you go. Now we all know what up-cycle means and how to spot a good up-cycling idea when you see one. What other up-cycle ideas are out there? Do you have any good ones to share?


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Guest Friday, 24 May 2019


In the U.S., processing minerals contributes almost half of all reported toxic emissions from industry, sending 1.5 million tons of pollution into the air and water each year. Recycling can significantly reduce these emissions.

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