Recycling is a term that's often heard. Newspapers, blogs and other news sources haven't hesitated the past years to use it. But there's one tiny problem with recycling, literally the word means 'bringing it in the product cycle again', and that's exactly what happens. If you have a nice fleece sweater for example. After a while it becomes too small or you don't like the color anymore, you decide to recycle it. Good choice! The people in the recycling branche then decide to make a flower pot from it. Nice.
But the problem here (you might be thinking now: "huh? is there a problem?") is that it goes from fleece to flower pot, and that's somehow a loss of quality. This phenomenon is known as downcycling, recycling but ending up with a product that has got less value than it's predecessor. It's not often heard since it's not that much of a problem. The opposite of the term however, is rather cool: upcycling.
Or: improving the quality of a product. A few days ago I came across an excellent example. The Pallet Chair.
Created by nifty crafts blog Holy Scrap Hot Springs this chair has been made from just one wooden pallet, a few pieces of wood and some screws. There's also an excellent video wherein the creators talk about their invention.
The pallet chair is a brilliant example of upcycling. Increasing the value of something that would have gone to waste otherwise. I sincerely hope to see more projects like this one in the near future.