Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Upcycled, repurposed or recycled???

So one of the questions that came about from the show this weekend was a disagreement on whether or not I was upcycling, repurposing or recycling the jeans that I use in my bags.  Well I have to agree, that is a very good question...  I was not really familiar with the term "upcycling" although I know one of my friends classifies my bags with that term.  I really thought of the three terms, that recycling best fit the bill, but being the google queen that I am, I hit the internet in search of information :)

The following are definitions from Wikipedia :

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.

Repurpose - To use or convert for use in another format or product:

Recycling involves processing used materials (waste), into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfilling) by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions as compared to virgin production. Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" waste hierarchy.

umbrella skirt  - I can't imagine this would be very comfortable!

So the analytical part of me says that based on this information, the term "repurpose" fits what I do best.   To upcylce I would need to be taking waste materials or useless products and converting them into new, better quality products.  Well most of the jeans and belts that I use are still fairly new and I really wouldn't consider them "waste" products.

wallet from measuring tape, quite inventive really...

I don't think that my bags could be considered recycled as I am not reducing the consumption of fresh raw materials.  I purchase brand new purse handles, purse feet and magnetic clasps for use in my bags.  I also use thread and new fabric for the lining.  Also just like the jeans, the bags will end up in a landfill someday.

handbag from old sweater...  Love the colors!

I am a little bummed that I was thinking I was not only being crafty with my bags, but being earth conscious as well, only to find out that I am really not helping.  At least in this area, I am not helping our planet.  I still recycle my newspapers, I take reusable bags to the grocery store.  We recycle our aluminum and metal cans.  We try not to use plastic water bottles, each of us carries a metal water bottle instead.  I recycle packaging, boxes and any plastic bags that come my way.

So with these thoughts in mind and the overindulgent holiday season upon us...  What are you doing this holiday season to upcycle, repurpose or recylce??  Leave me a comment letting me know how you are doing your part and on December 15th 2010, I will randomly draw a name to win a free "repurposed" checkbook cover :)



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