Rags to Ritches

Greentings Everyone!

Upcycling is a trend that has caught my interest in the past few years as companies jump on the Eco bandwagon. From Patagonia, back in 2005 with their innovative approach to waste via the Common Threads Recycling Program (the literal rags to riches) where old Patagonia garments were collected and upcycled into new and improved garments, to the more recent Parley Shoe by Adidas, which is composed of 75% intercepted Ocean plastic. These new and innovative approaches are a bright light at the end of the tunnel whilst our scientists come up with a viable solution to solving our over reliance and over consumption of plastic. In my opinion, this is a step forward in the sense that it may help remove tons of plastic out of our oceans and repurpose, potentially causing a fall in demand for new plastic…hopefully, the economics hold up on this one! 

Down cycle or Upcycle? 

We have spoken of down cycling in the past, where you extract useful materials from a recycled product to produce something of inferior quality. This approach does have it’s benefits, but should we not be focusing on extracting the maximum amount of value from everything we touch? With this in mind, it is super inspiring to see companies that we co-exist with on a daily basis adopting this innovative approach of upcycling. What is upcycling you ask? Well, it is simply taking an old product made up of recyclable goods and transforming it into something that has value, just as Adidas did with its Parley shoes, it’s a plastic bottle, no wait, it’s a shoe! Upcycling is not limited to making runnable shoes; it can be applied in the field of the Arts or Music. A fantastic example of this from a country squished In between the giants of South America; Paraguay, where the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura was born. This Orchestra, which comprised children and instruments made out of scrap materials collected from Asunción’s landfills ended up touring our planet with the likes of Stevie Wonder and heavy metal bands such Metallica, highlighted how creativity can be a valuable weapon in combating waste. This approach may not be scalable, and let’s face it, how many “Landfill Orchestras” do we really need? It did however open our eyes to the possibilities that lie ahead. 

“The Home of Tomorrow”

Tomorrow is a word that musters up different emotions depending on whom you speak with; it may conjure up images of a brighter future to some, or that overdue electricity bill that needs to be settled (or the future may not be so bright tomorrow) to others. Tomorrow is a word that I live with on a daily basis due to our current situation (yes, I am referring to COVID-19) that does not permit us to see loved ones who are stuck on different corners of the earth, when will this tomorrow come? If we truly want to make sure our home is still here and ready to greent us tomorrow, we must act today by changing our habits, supporting initiatives like the ones mentioned above and most importantly spreading the word! Times they are a changing! 

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