Upcycling versus Recycling: What’s the Difference?


Whether we like it or not, we produce trash every single day. From food packets to cardboard boxes and cans, we contribute to the millions of tons of waste generated every day around the world. There are things that we can do to our garbage, so it does not end up in the oceans, or wherever it does not belong. Recycling and upcycling are some of the things that we can practice on our own, so we can reduce our garbage. Another way to repurpose trash is to compost. Food waste can become soil fertilizer. You can do this in your yard and plant trees and plants, and see how healthy they are, thanks to the compost.


Recycling is when we take some types of trash – paper, cardboard, glass, bottles and cans – and take them to recycling centers. These recycling centers will then make these recyclable materials into new items. The quality of recycled is less than the original materials. Take this is an example: you take old newspapers, magazines and books to a recycling center. The center then recycles these paper materials into new paper that we can use. Take note that the quality of the new paper is significantly less than that of the original paper.


A lot of people are not familiar with upcycling. With this practice, you don’t have to take the waste to a recycling center. You can do the upcycling yourself, in the comfort of your home. This is the process when you make something entirely different out of trash, like glass and plastic bottles, paper, cardboard, etc. One example of upcycling is turning big metal or aluminum cans into planters. You can leave them as is, or you can make them more aesthetically pleasing by painting them. The quality of an upcycled material is higher than the original material.

What are the benefits?

Both recycling and upcycling will help you reduce the waste that you put in landfills. Also, when you recycle and upcycle, there is less need for new products or items that require raw materials produced by the environment. This also translates to fewer carbon emissions and less pollution created by product manufacturers in creating new products that you can have simply by recycling and upcycling.

With upcycling, you can also teach your children to be creative and make them aware of the effects of throwing trash in landfills. They will know the importance of reducing waste early on in their life, which they can carry on in adulthood.

Should you recycle or upcycle?

You don’t have to choose one over the other; you can easily do them both with the trash that you produce in your home. Make sure to involve your children so they can learn firsthand how reducing waste can help the environment immensely.

If you have no idea how to repurpose your trash especially the bigger items like cardboard boxes and electronics, you can call Evergreen Junk Removal. They will pick up the junk, and they will know how to dispose of it properly.

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