The World of Upcycling & Recycling

Recycling and Upcycling

The words upcycling & recycling are often used in the same term. But in a practical sense, both have huge differences in between. Let’s take a look at their world.

What is upcycling?

Upcycling means making something new from discarded items, without changing the structure or molecular components. Suppose in Bengali households, when we discard any clothes, they are often used for cleaning or carpeting. This is called general upcycling.


What is Recycling?

Recycling means regenerating something useful by utilizing the waste. It is done by changing the previous products even from molecular structures. In the textile industry recycling indicates breaking down the fibers of a fabric and enabling them to be woven as new fabric.


Know the differences side by side

ProcessBreak old materials into new ones.Transform materials into better things.
TermRecycling is practicalUpcycling is highly creative.
Energy consumptionUses a lot of energy in processing goods.Saves a lot of energy.
toxicityAs recycling breaks down the material, it may generate toxic waste.Upcycling doesn’t have this kind of issue.
EnvironmentNeed special arrangements.Can be done at home.
resultSimilar to conventional products.The upcycled product can be unique.
Eco-friendlyThough the outcome is sustainable, the process is not.The outcome & process both are eco-friendly.

Which products can be done both?

There are some cases when upcycling & recycling are not options.

  • Some items, which may create extreme toxicity and are unhygienic to process, are not recycled. Recycled polyester is not recommended to be recycled again after its desired use. In that case, they are going through upcycling.
  • Broken or irreparable materials can’t be upcycled.

When those processes work together…

These two processes have a huge impact on our planet and benefit everyone. Nowadays, many industries are working towards both methods together. For example, plastic bottles can be recycled and turned into fabric which is then used to create new textile products like bags and purses. This not only creates new, innovative products but also reduces waste. Both upcycling and recycling have now become essential parts of the textile industry, so let’s do our part and support these processes for a better future!


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