Creative Recycling

What exactly is creative recycling and what is the difference between creative recycling and recycling? In this article I will give you a quick overview of what recycling, down cycling, up cycling and creative recycling actually mean.


The term recycling by its definition means to reclaim the materials of the waste product, i.e. a tin or can and send these materials through the production cycle again to get a brand spanking new tin or can.

Down Cycling

However, the reality looks different as the recycling we all know and commonly talk about is in most cases actually a down cycling. This means that during the process of recycling, waste materials are turned into products of lesser quality. Every time the material goes full circle it becomes less reuasable, has a lower quality and of course a lower value until the last iteration of the cycle when the material ends up as general waste. Typical materials for down cycling are the ones we use and recycle the most: plastic and paper. Plastic cups, mugs, bottles, for example are turned into cable insulation and scrap office paper is turned into toilet paper where it finally goes down the tube.

Donít get me wrong, obviously recycling has its place and helps to prevent to waste useful materials, can potentially reduce energy consumption, pollution etc. but not always. One of the biggest issues about recycling, which in effect is down cycling, is that standards and requirements for recycled products are lower and subsequently the expectations of what the product should be like are lower, too. In the end classic recycling is necessary and feels good. We all know the satisfying feeling of having done our bit. But there is an even better feeling to be had - which leads me to the beauty of creative recycling.

Creative Recycling Ė Up Cycling

Creative recycling is a true recycling or even better an up cycling. Up cycling describes a process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. Creative recycling or up cycling reduces the consumption of new raw materials and in doing so it reduces, energy usage, air pollution, water pollution and even greenhouse gas emissions. And of course it helps to keep things away from landfills. Sounds wonderful, doesnít it? Really good examples of creative recycling are for example plastic bottles into hiking gear and luggage, old magazines into picture frames, fashionable bags made from tarpaulin, office paper into high quality compost ... but these are all things you can buy and I will give you a list of shops to help you find your way.

Creative Recycling - A new perspective on consumption

I believe that creative recycling is about consuming less, buying less and being able to see the next life of a material or a product still waiting to start. Creative recycling is a journey and once you have started it you see it all around you and no idea is too small. Be it holey knee high socks being turned into fancy cuffs, buttons being turned into necklaces, cutlery transformed into jewellery, pebbles into earrings ... you see, for creative recycling the sky is the limit! If you decide to make creative recycling gifts for birthdays, Christmas or any other occasion the person given the present will not only value the gift itself but the creativity, time and effort you have put in it. And you will feel good because you didnít buy another set of candle sticks but created something personal and individual with a low environmental impact. Creative recycling feels amazing. Try it, it is easy and it is the future!