Upcycling, or creative and unintended reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling, which involves converting materials and products into new materials of lesser quality, like converting some plastics into fleece. Synthetic fleeces, when washed, can release toxic synthetic microfibers into our environment where they are consumed by fish and other wildlife. Or these microfibers can bioaccumulate, concentrating toxins in larger animals that are higher up the food chain (see Microfiber Pollution and the Apparel Industry and Adventure Scientists).
This is an ongoing project. We invite students, educators, and anyone in the community to create upcycled Coca Cola or othe product projects. We ask that all models be uploaded to Youmagine, and include the tag “#upcycling.”
Some responses to this challenge:
by Ty Fabish
To see the introduction to this project, go to the Upcycling Community Project.