Upcycling and repurposing

What exactly is the difference between recycle, ucpcycle and repurpose. A bit lost? Let us make things clearer!

Recycling

Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and things. The initial materials recovered can be remade into something new. For example, plastic bottles that are collected and processed to be transformed into synthetic fibre. Recycling often requires industrial process and a lot of research and development to transform the wastes into another state.

=> At Smateria, we are currently working on a new future collection using recycled materials.

=> Leather offcuts and plastic bags could be considered as recycled materials, but “upcycle” is a more accurate term to describe them.

Upcycling

Upcycling is the process of converting discarded materials into something of equal or greater value. For example, leftover scraps of material – also called excess – could be transformed through a low energy process into a new product of better value than the original material. An example of upcycling would be turning an unused t-shirt into a bag by re-cutting it. This is a low energy process, but still creates something new.

Upcycling prolongs the life of materials and significantly reduces the need for additional resources such as water and energy. Upcycling is considered a recycling technique, yet generally ‘recycling’ requires a technical process that transforms back to the state of the original material.

=>  At Smateria, leather and plastic waste are upcycled.

Repurposing

Repurposing is to find a new use for an idea, product or material than the one for which it was originally intended. For example using copper tubes, generally used for plumbing, to design an industrial style shelf.

=>  At Smateria net is a repurposed material. It is traditionally used to create fishing nets or in the construction field.

At Smateria we design functional & quircky bags, all made ethically in Cambodia