Skip to main content
Fun FridayGNN Network

Recycling vs. Upcycling: What’s the Difference?

By December 11, 2015No Comments

If you’ve been following my posts for a while, you know that every week I write a post about up cycling. It’s something I love to do, but in the past when I’ve talked about it to friends or coworkers, they asked me what upcycling is. While I know what it is, when I’m describing it, the first thing they ask me is why not recycle it instead, what’s the difference anyway? That got me thinking that a lot of people reading these posts are wondering the same thing. So, instead of giving you another craft, I decided to explain the main differences between recycling and upcycling.

Recycling is when you turn items like glass, paper, or metal cans into reusable materials. Once you’re done with certain things, it is taken to a plant where it is taken apart and then made into more or less the same item as it was before. Recycling is a great way to take care of certain materials that you feel cannot be used anymore. This is a wonderful practice and Keep Prince William Beautiful strongly advocates for recycling, but what if you had something that most people would probably recycle, but you felt that it had sentimental value? That is where upcycling comes in.

Upcycling is a way to repurpose certain items to give them another use. It is currently a very popular way to re-use materials that can’t be used for their original purpose. For instance, if you have an old t-shirt that you can’t wear anymore, make it into a purse. Do you have books that you don’t read anymore, but want to keep? You can upcycle them into all sorts of different items. I’m sure you’re wondering if you can upcycle if you’re not a very crafty person. While you may not get the same results as that pin you found on Pinterest, anyone can do it.

Overall, while both have their differences, recycling and upcycling are both great ways to reuse materials. Are you interested in learning more? Check out the Keep Prince William Beautiful website for more information about recycling in Prince William County. While you are there, check out our blog to learn about various upcycling projects!