Photo: Unsplash / Noah Buscher

Let's be honest: Have you ever taken a step to repurpose something you thought was unusable? Have you rolled up your sleeves to give it a new function or repair its worn or broken parts? Unfortunately, many of us tend to immediately buy a new one instead of repairing and reusing many products that we think are at the end of their useful life. This is exactly where upcycling enters the scene, as an alternative approach that respects nature, which we can define as ' creative reuse '. It reminds us of the value of reuse, while encouraging us to push the limits of our creativity! As Pop + Sandy, we believe in the power of re-evaluation, and in this article we aim to introduce you to all aspects of upcycling. Let's start.

It took the end of the 90s for the phrase 'upcycling' to enter the world's dictionary. In other words, upcycling is new in terms of terminology, but it has a deep-rooted history in terms of culture. Simply put, think about the fact that our grandparents did not throw away any belongings easily and the importance they gave to reusing them for different purposes. In fact, upcycling has been a part of our lives for many years. If we look at a more detailed definition, we can say that upcycling is "trying to reuse existing materials in different forms by transforming them in order to reuse them." Objects or clothes that can no longer fulfill their current purpose of use acquire new and functional purposes through upcycling, so they can be used again and again.

Photo: Unsplash / My Life Through A Lens

So, what are the positive effects of upcycling on nature ? In fact, upcycling is one of the three basic philosophies we encounter when talking about sustainable living: the 'reuse' part of 'reduce, reuse, recycle '. Every upcycled product contributes to nature by primarily playing a role in reducing global waste accumulation . Think of it like this: While that product would normally go to waste sites and cause environmental, air and water pollution by increasing toxic gases entering the atmosphere or other pollutants that poison the soil; Thanks to upcycling, it returns to its original path and becomes ready to be reused to serve another purpose. It starts its usage journey from scratch, without wasting any energy (we will come back to this topic later)!

Photo: Flow Magazine

On the other hand, we know that every new production causes carbon emissions affecting the atmosphere to increase. Upcycling, on the other hand, is a way of not creating any production-related pollution, wasting energy and not consuming new materials, as it creates new and functional uses for existing materials. To summarize: Every item you upcycle is both a contribution you make to reduce global waste accumulation and a step you take to break the cycle of the linear economy that proceeds with the 'use-and-throw' approach and create new and functional products without wasting resources. Therefore, it is your support for the "circular economy, where resources are used for as long as possible and based on recycling".

So, at what points do recycling and upcycling differ from each other? If you remember, we defined recycling as "the process of materials such as paper , cardboard, glass, plastic and metal becoming ready for reuse as secondary raw materials after going through various physical, chemical and biochemical processes ." As we have learned, upcycling is the process of recycling items that have expired in a different way, other than their main purpose. In other words, in recycling, in order for wastes to be reused as raw materials, they must go through processes such as separation and transportation, which require a certain energy and water consumption. Unlike recycling, in upcycling there is no need to use energy to turn the material into a new product. This, of course, is a great contribution to reducing the consumption of raw materials and energy resources.

As Pop + Sandy, we move forward in our journey by believing in the power of recycling and re-evaluation. This is exactly the inspiration for our upcycling project called PS X Gaios . In this upcycling project, where we brought together Pop + Sandy's unique scarf selection and Gaios' impeccable handcraftsmanship, we transformed very special vintage and pre-loved silk scarves, which can no longer be used, into unique accessories. And so we gave them a chance to re-evaluate... We hope that the upcycling approach will become more widespread and its awareness will increase. In our next article, we will focus on the relationship between upcycling and fashion . Stay tuned…