Uashmama's blog

Four examples of upcyclingYou’re familiar with the process of recycling, but have you heard of upcycling?

You’re familiar with the process of recycling, but have you heard of upcycling? Upcycling is the process of giving cheap by-products or waste materials new life by transforming them into something new. It’s actually a fairly common practice, especially as companies become more conscious of their environmental impacts. Here are some examples of upcycling that we’ve taken note of recently.

Cork yoga blocks

Every year, billions of bottles of wine are consumed worldwide, and many of those corks end up in our landfills. But cork, which comes from cork oak trees, is a versatile raw material that can be given a second life through upcycling. In fact, its durable, moisture-wicking, lightweight quality makes it perfect for those blocks we use to balance in yoga class! One company, ReCORK, encourages people to discard their wine corks in specific cork recycling bins, and partners with vineyards that bottle their wines with natural cork. ReCORK then grinds down the cork and uses it to develop new products.

Plastic outerwear

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, every piece of plastic ever manufactured still exists. That’s why some businesses are coming up with innovative ways to upcycle plastic and integrate it into their products. The clothing company Everlane, for example, has a new line, Renew, made out of discarded plastic bottles. Everlane sorts and washes the compressed plastic bottles, shreds the material into tiny flakes, and melts it into molten plastic. That plastic then goes through several stages of being compressed and pulled into strands, eventually forming precise threads that can be spun into yarn or knit into sheets of polyester, fleece, fabric or insulation. Everlane uses this spun plastic to create chic outerwear like pullovers, puffer jackets, and parkas.

Musical decor

Musical instruments can get cast aside for a number of reasons; maybe they’ve sustained wear and tear over the years, or perhaps their owners no longer have time to play them. But when they’re no longer in use, what happens to them? Rather than throwing them out to eventually end up in a landfill, creative entrepreneurs have come up with inventive ways to give them a second life. A guitar can become a planter or a coffee table; a drum can transform into an end table; an old brass cymbal can make the perfect clock.

Paper fashion bags

Here at Uashmama, we completely support the practice of upcycling materials to lessen our impact on the environment; that’s why we make our fashionable bags out of paper! The materials are made and produced in Italy from cellulose fiber, which forms our unique washable paper that we’ve called AGGO. We soften the AGGO through traditional processes using vegan fat, then color it and assemble the bags by hand in our manufacturing facility.

If you want to support the practice of upcycling, you’ve got plenty of options to either implement it in your own life or patronize one of the businesses above. Treat yourself to something fashionable or fun while supporting the planet!