Recycling? Upcycling? What’s the difference.

by Berenice Westmore June 25, 2021 1 min read

Let's get educational here by explaining the difference between recycled and upcycled - do you know which product is from recycled material or has been upcycled?


Recycling is an industrial process, used to repurpose waste into new products.

Recycling = Mass Production

Process: home separation ➔  curbside collection ➔  separation at MRF ➔  recycled into materials ➔  manufactured into products ➔  retailed

Examples: discarded water bottles ➔ RPet Fabric which is then turned into a Shopping Bag (like the Rpet Insect Range Bags) or Produce Bags (like the Uzwelo fruit range of produce Bags).        


Upcycling is a creative process, used to repurpose household waste into new products.

Upcycling = D.I.Y

Process: broken product ➔ brainstorm ideas ➔  redesign ➔  strip materials ➔  remake using tools ➔  new product

Example: Discarded Billboard Fabric ➔ Large Reusable Shopper Bags


We always recommend first reducing, reusing - then Upcycling, and FINALLY, when the material no longer serves a purpose - Recycling.