The Chopstick Stool c/o doornob
The importance of three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle has been droned into us for at least a couple of decades now but this eco-friendly family seems to have a new member: Upcycle. According to Wikipedia, Upcycling is the use of waste materials to provide useful products. My first reaction was 'Isn't that recycling?' Pretty much. The main difference being that an upcycled product is deemed to be of greater value than the recylced parts. 'Upcycling is the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value.'
The Carpet Sqr'd Chair c/o The Design blog
Why is upcycling so hot? It's positive effect on the environment is two-fold: it reduces waste by re-using materials while cutting down on the use of virgin materials. Upcyling is the antithesis of the consume and waste concept in society: it is a reinvestment in the environment and an embodiment of the notion that one can still contribute to the value of a resource while using it.
Upcycled table by Los Angeles based furniture designer Michael Yonke c/o Contemporist
While looking into this new trend, I found a range of examples of upcycled products, from the Carpet Sqr'd Chair (middle picture) made from carpet samples to the Chopstick Stool (top) made of steamer trays and - you guessed it - chopsticks. There are some pretty ingenious ideas floating around out there although I must say some more salvage chic and useful than others. Whatever way you cut it though - this is a trend to watch!