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What is the difference of upcycle, recycle, and downcycle

Nowadays, the words such as “low-carbon”, “environment protection”, “energy-saving”, and “green” are frequently mentioned by people. When people are selecting a daily item in supermarket, more and more people will also pay attention to the product if it is recyclable or not. Many people know the word “recycle”, but do you know what are “upcyle” and “downcycle”? What is the difference of upcycle, recycle, and downcycle?

RECYCLE is completely decomposing the waste material and then re-make into new product. During the recycling process, there will be certain energy consumed and pollutants created while collecting the recyclables and transporting them to the processing factory, and then breaking down to raw material and further processing into new product.

In Wikipedia, UPCYCLE is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless and/or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. It means using something in a new way without doing anything to reprocess the material which is made from. For example, fill the old boots with soil and turn it into a flower vase. Have old carton boxes stacked together, upcycling it into a mini shelf.

DOWNCYCLE is the process of turning something into a product of lesser value. For example, paper, the new paper from recycled paper is much thinner and weaker, and many recycled paper becomes toilet paper. Actually most recycling is downcycling.

To conclude, upcycling are mostly artistic projects. Whatever it is upcycling, recycling, or downcycling, they are all the same important. Each one is better than throwing away and ending in a landfill. Be creative and upcycling the items as much as you can, and recycle the useless items that you can’t upcycle.

SINOBALER baling machines and PROSINO shredding machines and granulating machines are popular waste recycling machines in wide applications incl cardboard, wood, paper, plastics, rubber, textile, E-waste and fiber etc. Contact us if you have any waste recycling concerns or questions. We are always here to help!

Quick links:

How to improve waste recycling

Type of plastic in recycling

Cardboard box recycling

Stevia leaves recycling

Cottonseed hull recycling

Paper types and paper recycling

Urban waste recycling