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Upcycling is the new recycling

There are a range of clothes companies who are now recycling  old materials to create new consumer goods. They call this upcycling. Upcycling is the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value, leading to a higher material and energy benefits according to Worn Again. Worn Again works with leading product designers to transform discarded and unwanted fabrics into modern, wearable clothes and accessories.

According to their website, the combined waste from clothing and textiles in the UK is about 2.35 million tonnes, 13% going to material recovery (about 300 thousand tonnes), 13% to incineration and 74% (1.8 million tonnes) to landfill, which they cite as being from the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing. Obviously there is a smaller but similar potential here in Ireland and some budding entrepreneurs are already looking at these options.

Another example is reMade USA is a design company that upcycles used materials to make one-of-a-kind objects, their first line is a range of bags made from used leather clothing and scrap. reMade is available in two collections, Made to Order and Buy Now. Each bag is a limited edition of one and bears its own serial number that reflects its uniqueness. You can even send in your own leather jacket and they will make that into a bag for you at a discount.

This trend of upcycling has some way to go yet and it will be interesting to see what other ideas for turning old products into new entrepreneurs will come up with.

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