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Upcycling: What it is and How to Get the Most Return

At Tuscan Basins, we believe that homeowners are capable of making the world a better place through the choices that they make when renovating their kitchens and bathrooms. One of the best ways you can improve the world is by recycling as much "trash" as possible.

You probably already know the basics of recycling: You drop items made of recyclable materials off at local recycling centers or place them in bins for curbside pickup. Recycling facilities then break these items down and ship the materials out to manufacturers for the creation of new items.

 

Are Recycling and Upcycling the Same Thing?

What you probably didn't realize is that recycling processes usually result in "downcycling" or the creation of lower quality materials. For example, the processes used to break down plastic and aluminum containers originally made from non-recycled materials often fail to produce the same quality of new material. Manufacturers usually have to mix recycled materials with non-recycled materials to even make the new items usable. Although downcycling plays an important role in protecting the planet, it isn't the only recycling option available. In fact, it's the last option you should consider when trying to reduce the amount of trash you send to landfills.

On the other hand, upcycling or "creative reuse" involves using old items in the creation of new materials or items of better quality and greater value. Where downcycling often results in the manufacture of items similar to the source items, upcycling usually leads to the creation of different ones. A fantastic example of upcycling is the use of whole colored glass beverage bottles as a construction material.

 

Upcycling in Home Design

We can hardly contain our excitement about the increasing trend of homeowners using upcycled items in kitchens and bathrooms. Upcycled pieces enhance the beauty of almost any part of these rooms, and you can upcycle almost any item into something of value.

For example, the glass bottle upcycling mentioned earlier has resulted in solid color and mosaic floors, walls and archways. Some homeowners have even created beautiful custom glass bottle countertops, where bottoms of glass bottles are cut and inset into a countertop material to create decorative accents. To increase the light in a kitchen, many designers have even placed small lights under each piece of glass. This example of creative reuse looks absolutely stunning when coupled with our glass or copper kitchen sinks.

Another upcycling idea that we love involves upcycling an old table by cutting it in half and attaching one half along the former middle to an island or wall to create extra workspace or a small breakfast nook. We've found that this upcycling renovation beautifully matches farmhouse apron sinks for a more rustic theme. Depending on the style of table, this renovation also looks great next to buffets and hutches.

 

With each of these examples, and many more, you can increase both the beauty and value of your home. For more information, contact one of our renovation and design specialists today.

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