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TREASURES FROM TRASH

UPCYCLING CAN SAVE MONEY-AND LIVES.

There is no denying that we live in a land of plenty. If we need to do a quick repair there is usually a Home Depot or Lowe’s within driving distance of most of us, and almost anything else can be delivered from Amazon. In many ways, this has left the vast majority of Americans dependent on our retail infrastructure, along with emptied bank accounts … and adding waste to landfills.

Today, many products, clothes, devices, tools and other possessions are replaced even before they’ve reached their end of useful life. However, in many cases, even if the particular item can no longer be used in its original role, parts of it might find a secondary life somewhere else. Sadly, few people are actually taking the time to consider the consequences when something is so easily tossed aside.

UPCYCLE RATHER THAN RECYCLE

The concept of finding a second use for products and materials has been dubbed “upcycling” or “creative reuse,” and it is described as “the process of transforming by-products, waste materials and unwanted or useless products into new materials of better quality and environmental and functional value.”

Upcycling is not entirely new, and it is actually the other face of recycling —“downcycling,” whereby materials and products are converted into new materials but generally of lesser quality. This is a sad fact of recycling that isn’t generally told, but recycled plastic is generally of a lesser quality than virgin plastics. It helps explain why so much of the used-up stuff is now floating in our oceans and killing the planet. This is also true of glass, metals and virtually every other component of our modern lives.

“UPCYCLING IS NOT ENTIRELY NEW, AND IT IS ACTUALLY THE OTHER FACE OF RECYCLING —‘DOWNCYCLING,’ WHEREBY MATERIALS AND PRODUCTS ARE CONVERTED INTO NEW MATERIALS BUT GENERALLY OF LESSER QUALITY.”

The familiar saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” has no better place than in the conversation about upcycling unused, obsolete and abandoned items.
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About American Survival Guide

April 2020