Friday, March 2, 2012

Do Overs: So What is Upcycling?

I have come across the term upcycling a number of times from my Etsy crowd. I see shops that sell upcycled products and blogs that talk about the things they make from upcycled materials.

So what exactly is upcycling? I set out to see how a product qualifies as being upcycled.

The concept was first talked about in 1994 by Reiner Pilz, a German who was upset that local demolition teams were not using reclaimed materials, but were instead smashing them for someone else to use in recycled products. He called recycling 'downcycling' because the materials are reprocessed, use a lot of energy to create and add to pollution. He noted that we should be 'upcycling' which reclaims existing materials in their current form - no manufacturing or process needed.

I went back through my items to see what I might classify as 'upcycling,' and found that I was upcycling some of my pieces.  I save earrings when I've lost one of the pair, I reuse charms from other pieces and I've recently starting including sea glass in settings.  One of my best tools is a silver polishing cloth.  Mine is black from use, but I have 'reclaimed' many a silver chain and pile of charms with this handy cloth.
1. Reclaimed silver chain, reclaimed silver cross in heart charm
2. Sea Glass with silver wire wrap on reclaimed silver chain
3. Reclaimed cat's eye earring, filigree, silver chain and clasp


Duni said...

How interesting! Your upcycled pieces are very beautiful! Love the addition of sea glass!

DeeBee L. said...

Thank you for all these info, I've learnt a lot and this is why i like to follow blogs that are different from mine, just to discover and enjoy! Wishing you a great week-end!

be-rare! said...

Very interesting post. I have to think if I made any reclaimed jewelry... and probly I did and didnt even know I'm doing upcycling!

Miss Val's Creations said...

Pretty upcycled pieces! I love bringing new life to old items. My grandmother gave me tons of old jewelry that had belonged to my great aunt. There were some neat broken pieces in the collection that I was able to upcycle in different ways! I look forward to seeing your finds from New Zealand!

Melinda said...

I love the concept of upcycling and was happy to read about its origins. Your upcycled creations are perfectly lovely! :)

Kimberly Kent said...

Daria had a "business" called Missing Mates for about three years. She made necklaces from earrings giver to her, mostly by my friends. She sold them at the school art fair that had a student section. She has been mostly out of business the last two years, but who knows.

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