All About Upcycling

We’re going beyond the trend to see how upcycling is increasing in popularity in the sustainable design community and why it is so beneficial for designers, our environment and more.

So, what exactly is upcycling? Upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something new, beautiful and useful. Unlike recycled products, upcycled products are meant to create greater value and interest then they did previously as a raw material. Upcycled materials are not broken down and re-interpreted, but rather, re-fashioned to add to overall value. ALKEMI’s recycled surfaces can be considered an upcycled surfacing product. Composed of post-industrial scrap waste, crafted from fine flake aluminum milling scraps, ALKEMI’s recycled surfacing materials adds value, beauty and functionally to the original scrap material, (without leaving a hazardous footprint.)

Other methods of upcycling that are popular in the design community now include crafting interior shelving, units and full-scale environments out of reclaimed or scrap wood and using old glass bottles and broken glass scraps to create modern chandeliers and installations.

While upcycled surfaces and materials have been around for a long time, (think of families during World War II, who with few resources to purchase new items, upcycled common household materials,) upcycling is continuing to become more popular within the sustainable design community. Designers are taking note that upcycling has little to no negative impact on the environment and removes waste from our globe. What could be better  or more sustainable than that?