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Upcycling, Recycling, Downcycling

It’s all about cycling!

Recycling, upcycling, downcycling......what exactly do these terms mean and what is the difference between them? They all include the word ‘cycling’ and clearly have nothing to do with riding a bike. It’s all about reusing discarded materials. To get these terms right, I give an explanation for each of them in this blog post.


RECYCLING

During the recycling process a material gets reduced down to its composing materials in order to produce a new product out of it. Recycling brings a discarded material back into the same life cycle which means that the material is processed back into the same product.

There are materials that recycle better than others. Glass and metals for example can be recycled many times without a loss of quality. In reality, a significant part of recycling is combined with a loss of quality - which is correctly downcycling.

There are companies working on a completely recycled wetsuit. Stay tuned for more information.

DOWNCYCLING

Downcycling sounds kind of negative, right?! And yes: we are talking about a loss of quality when the waste material is converted. But it is an indispensable and essential aspect of recycling, as the downcycling process uses recycled scraps to manufacture new products. However, the material will not stay in its original cycle. An example is the good old recycled toilet paper. It is likely that the relatively thin and slightly rough toilet paper came from recycling smooth and thick paper (for writing or printing). So the material has degraded a bit, but it’s surely better than going in the trash, and it’s still fine to use it as toilet paper.

UPCYCLING

Upcycling a way to use discarded products and add value to it by transforming it creatively into something new without breaking it down into its raw materials. Instead, upcycling uses products as they are, in their current state, to create a whole new item.

So the material is used without degrading the quality and composition for its next use.

NALUbags are all made from upcycled wetsuits. We use the material of the wetsuits as it is in order to create a new product out of it.


Upcycling is a process WE ALL can do. Look at your waste and start to think in an creative way about it. Does this old towel really need to end up in the bin or could I maybe make some washcloth out of it? There are numerous nice upcycling websites to get some inspiration - like this one: https://www.homedit.com/repurposing-ideas/


No matter if it is downcycling, recycling or upcycling - it’s all about reusing discarded materials! Let's try to create a better world and start with simple small steps in our daily lifes.


“Small steps may appear unimpressive, but don't be deceived. They are the means by which perspectives are subtly altered, mountains are gradually scaled, and lives are drastically changed.”

- Richelle E. Goodrich,Making Wishes



Até já.

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Your Eva