What Does Up-Cycling Really Mean to Manufacturers?

I’m not new to the term “Up-Cycling”, but after watching Tuesday’s video, “Waste=Food” and learning that both Ford and Nike were implementing this practice; I wondered what other companies out there are making the logical, sustainable and cost saving move to practice up-cycling in their manufacturing processes. With my search, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the number of companies that support up-cycling and how it is actually becoming a trend!

In just one article published by entrepreneur.com, it mentioned eight companies that practice up-cycling to some level, as part of its manufacturing processes.  This article was not solely commending these companies for up-cycling but for the way in which they marketed their products and convinced consumers how great they were. Some of the products the article highlighted were chairs made of old baseball bats ($299-Etsy) or a patchwork hybrid vest ($120-Looptworks), and people actually pay for these things.  I know what you are thinking, as a design student you could totally make these same things for a fraction of the cost (future career endeavor?). And just as this article was highlighting, the way in which you market something can go a long way.  And “Going Green” is a huge trend that is taking place in American right now, even if most American’s don’t know exactly what that means.  What they do know is that by paying a higher price for something, it means it is less harmful to the environment.

But does this really make sense?  How can something that has been processed less or has been made from trash, cost so much more then the original product?  And a huge reason companies love up-cycling is because it does save them money in the long run, because they are able to re-use materials and have less material to dispose of.

I am obviously a huge fan of up-cycling, but I wish I could see it being marketed towards the general population and seen as a smart environmental choice and not just a trend that only the upper class can afford and feel good about. Even though I was searching for an article or information on how more companies are implementing up-cycling as an environmental consideration, this article definitely gave me a new perspective on things as well as more questions and ideas that I may further investigate.

Hermes introduced a new line called petit h, which up-cycles scrap from old designs for new high-end products.



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