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I Was Wondering

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recycled or upcycled?


I spent an entire day, recently, surfing the web to see how much people are doing to recycle or upcycle mundane things into something entirely different and exciting. I started off wondering WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RECYCLED AND UPCYCLED??

Recycling involves processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials

Upcycling involves processing new materials into new products, or the re-use of a product with crippled functionality for alternative purposes

A while back, I recycled a plastic bottle into beads for making a necklace, earrings, etc. I cut strips from the clear plastic bottle, colored onto them with permanent sharpie markers, rolled them and "shrunk" them with a heat gun. You can take a look at the end result below.....



I now have a few bags full of used/empty soda bottles to use to make more of these beads.
So...here I've taken a used material and made it into a new product...RECYCLING? I think so.

Currently, I've been looking around my house for items that are no  longer used, and trying to figure out what I could possibly make with them.
See one of my finished products below...and another I'm still working on to come up with a great idea...

The pic above shows design pieces from an old Spirograph. I absolutely loved creating designs with the Spirograph I had when I was a kid (back in the dark ages!). These pieces came from a travel version of Spirograph which I had purchased for my kids back in 1991. Had to have something to keep them from whacking & whining while we were on long car trips!
I glued on acrylic gemstones over some or all of the holes in each Spirograph piece, then added a jump ring and a chain. Voila! I believe I've just upcycled something! 
I reused a product with "crippled" functionality into an alternative purpose...or is it that I processed a new (well, slightly used) material into a new product??
I guess I can consider this Upcycling??

Below, I show a few items that I plan to...hmmm...REcycle or UPcycle???...

These are keyboard keys from an old childs keyboard. (Hence, the bright primary colors!) I popped them off  with a flathead screwdriver (not very difficult to do) and here they sit, waiting for inspiration! They all have a long-ish stem on the back(that's how they attached to the keyboard), so I guess I'll have to cut those off somehow, in order to use them for jewelry or SOMETHING!  Being the lazy type(sometimes), I'm trying to figure out a way to use them without having to cut off that stem. Hmmm....the wheels are turning....

Found under the keyboard cover....
A type of control "thingy" for the keyboard, complete with capacitors and resistors(I remember those terms from helping my son make a robot of sorts about 10 years ago); 3 sheets of lightweight plastic with white diagrams printed on them; a soft, rubbery piece of plastic which was the top layer under the hard plastic cover of the keyboard. Hmmm....how might these be re or upcycled?


I found a wonderful site showing many, many ideas for things others have recycled or upcycled. It's definitely worth checking out...

Go to the Crafts Gossip area of the site and there are pages and pages of ideas!

Most of the day I spent surfing was at that site. I think you'll be amazed at the creativity out there in cyberspace!!

I'm still a tiny bit unclear about the re vs up cycle meanings. But...I believe I'm a step closer...


1 comment:

  1. What fabulous beads you have made! I also try to recycle as I can and make mixed media art. I will try out the link your supplied. Thanks!
    I just re0opened my Bonanzle store last night after being on a road trip.

    My store is frstyfrolk's Boutique.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Smiles, Cyndi