LOS ANGELES - There are two types of recycling -- downcycling and upcycling. We are more familiar with downcycling in our everyday lives. It is why we put a glass bottle in a separate waste bin. Downcycling breaks down consumer goods of paper, metal, glass, and plastic into base materials into low-value raw materials so that they can be used to make another product.
Upcycling is the process of converting old materials into something useful, sometimes beautiful, and maybe even better than the original. Many of us have had a funky friend that could repurpose their wardrobe with a glue gun and thread, or a neighbor that would paint old gas cans and use them as flower boxes. Lately, the innovation and creativity required to upcycle is making a shift from thrift to mainstream ideology. One area in particular that upcycling is trending, is with the eco-friendly minds with ties to the ocean.
The company ExKite is an Italian fashion brand that was started by kitesurfing World Cup competitor Renzo Mancini after noticing that his kite prototypes were being thrown out after they were tested.
“It’s not often that you actually can wear a story, and inside each bomber and jacket there is a label that tells where your jacket has been flying, with whom and which kite model it used to be,” Mancini told GrindTV. “You get to know the story of your item and that’s something our clients love.”
Surf company Vissla recently teamed up with Surfrider Foundation for the second annual Vissla and Surfrider Creators & Innovators Upcycle Contest.
As reported by Surfline.com, “Vissla has always valued the concept of ‘upcycling,’ and it has become one of the foundations on which the company builds itself,” according to the brand. “Because upcycling means such a great deal to us, we feel extremely grateful to share this concept with people from all over the world, and are humbled by the amount of support and participation in this year's contest.”
Some of the winners’ boards included fins made from denim, cardboard, styrofoam, resin, and wine boxes.
Adidas is also getting into upcycling with non-profit Parley for the Oceans. They have released around 7,000 pairs of sneakers made from recycled ocean plastic. 95 percent of the shoe is made from ocean plastic and the rest is made from recycled polyester.
Each pair of shoes contains 11 plastic bottles and the company recently said in a press statement that there are more on the way.
"We will make one million pairs of shoes using Parley Ocean Plastic in 2017 – and our ultimate ambition is to eliminate virgin plastic from our supply chain," said Adidas exec Eric Liedtke.
Watch the video to see how Adidas and other companies are using recycling and creativity.