Upcycle, Recycle, Reuse: What's the Difference?

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Upcycling Reusing RecyclingWaste management doesn't have to be complicated. In our little ways, we could protect our environment by upcycling, recycling, and reusing. But some people use all three terms interchangeably or sometimes don't know what each one means. Hence, passing up a chance to do some good for the planet's environment. So let's now clear things up by discussing each one separately.

What is Upcycling?

According to an article from Treehugger, "Upcycling means creating something new from discarded materials by repairing, refurbishing, or repurposing them." Social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram are littered with content like this. Netizens are obsessed with making or viewing this kind of content, so much so that the hashtag #upcycling has over four million posts on Instagram alone!

With upcycling, unwanted or old items are kept from becoming waste by being given a new value or use. For example, in the office, you can turn toilet paper rolls into cable organisers to keep gadget cords in order. Do you have excess old promotional t-shirts gathering dust in the supply closet? They could be used as a piece of decor to show off your company's history and culture. Or, you could sew them together to make throw blankets for office days when it's cold.

What is Recycling?

Recycling is the process of turning something into a raw material before using it to make something new. But not all of us have the money to invest in the machinery needed to carry out such an arduous process. As an alternative, you can collect old disposable things like manuals, light bulbs, printer cartridges, and e-waste and bring them to a recycling facility close by.

Buying recycled or eco-friendly promotional gifts is also a means to do this. Or purchase things that are recyclable like plastic, aluminium, glass, or paper. One way of encouraging your colleagues to participate in recycling is by adding more recycling bins in the office. The best place to put these bins is where most people gather, like in the break room.

What is Reusing?

Among the three, this one is the easiest to do. You don't have to repurpose or process something. You don't need high-priced equipment to convert the garbage into raw materials that can be used to make anything else. You can upcycle it without requiring the purchase of extra materials, making it an affordable way to decrease waste. All you have to do is to use it over and over again, as long as it is reusable or functions perfectly.

You can accomplish this by giving away your extra promotional items, such as t-shirts and coffee mugs, to charity and shelters for the elderly. Those personalised mugs can be used as an alternative to disposable cups when entertaining clients and guests at the workplace. This is one of the waste management strategies we use at Cubic Promote as part of our effort to protect the environment.

We hope this post has made it easier for you to understand the differences between upcycling, recycling, and reusing. Being an eco-warrior isn't that hard. We can all make a slight difference in the environment by using these simple ways to deal with trash.

Author Profile: Yoshe

Yoshe is a Cubic Promote’s content manager and she has worked with promotional products for almost a decade. Yoshe is full of great product ideas, she knows what's new on the market and how to use promotional products to boost your brand visibility. Visit her on LinkedIn.




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