Upcycling in the workplace? Yes! A new study from Smile Resource Exchange finds that upcycling is becoming a new corporate trend.
The study found that businesses increasingly have positive attitudes toward improving their environmental performance. Perceived benefits of environmentally friendly action include reducing costs, minimizing waste, improving the company’s image among customers, increasing efficiency, and simply being environmentally responsible.
As companies look for ways to become greener, more companies are turning to “upcycling” as a viable option. While recycling is a term now familiar to everyone, mentioning upcycling to the average person (not our readers- of course!) will often be met with a blank stare. For those who may not know, generally speaking, "upcycling" is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.
The study found that 82% of companies surveyed would consider upcycling as a way to reduce waste, and two-thirds of those companies had ideas for specific products they could produce from unwanted materials. Many companies have already incorporated a recycling program and have asked employees to be mindful of waste. And, even other companies, such as Looptworks have create wearables from manufacturing excess. Programs, such as Terracycle, are sprouting up across the country which allows corporations to donate hard-to-recycle materials to be converted into new products.
Other successful corporate upcycling programs include:
- Patagonia has made fleece out of plastic bottles
- Fashion designer Hermes created a whole new line of handcrafted accessories and toys from excess fabric
- Even mega-box retailer Wal-Mart has jumped on the upcycling band-wagon by donating operational waste (bottles, hangers, bags, and corrugated cardboard) to Worldwise who then converts it into dog beds, cat litter pans, scoops, scratchers, and litter liners.
Michelle Green, Project Manager of Smile Resource Exchange said that upcycling opportunities are endless: upcycling is quickly becoming an industry in itself, one which has the potential to create a lot of jobs, on the basis that there will always be waste, and most people are willing to give away their waste, and that the only limiting factor in this equation is creativity.
What upcycling ideas do you have for Corporations? Comment below.
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