Upcycling: Striking Consumerism at its Root

Did you check out the latest report on where your economy would stand in the year 2050? Well, let’s not get too intellectual about it and simply put have you ever wondered how many items on your weekly shopping list you can do without? Most shopping lists have at the very least one item that got there solely because of Consumerism! But how can we tackle our consumerism behaviors? Maybe Upcycling is the answer to that questions.

The good news is, the world is waking up to the hazards of consumerism, may these be environmental hazards, physical hazards or psychological hazards. The devil that lead humanity to fall into a vicious cycle of consuming without thought and producing without need has been identified and in psychological terms, half the problem is solved. The other half, however, needs active action by the consumers. That’s pretty much everyone around us unless they are Amish.

Upcycling: Solution to Change Consumerism

Among the many solutions to rapidly changing consumerism, a select few, such as minimalism, strike the devil at its root. On the other hand, it’s not possible for everyone to empty their house and trade their furniture for futuristic, space saving, somewhat puzzle furniture that can be hidden away in the walls or transformed into different pieces of furniture as needed. The next best solution to tackle it is Upcycling.

We grow up in a society that is essentially consumerism centric and to break the chain, solutions like recycling, downcycling and upcycling. Whether or not downcycling a better solution that upcycling is a long debate in itself that we would take up some other time but for now, let’s explore into Upcycling further to understand how it can help us break the chain and strike consumerism at its very root.

The Concept

Upcycling is primarily rooted in the idea that nothing is truly wasted unless you classify it wasted or find a better use for it. But unlike recycling, the concept also involves a creative approach towards making seemingly wasted by-products of our routine materials into new products. It wouldn’t be wrong to call it a bit of an artistic side of recycling.

Cost Effective

Consumerism is rooted in making higher profits by creating a need for a product that is not otherwise essential for existence. Although Upcycling doesn’t actually strike directly at the product market, it helps you reduce your costs when you use by-products from one or more products you have already purchased and turned them into a product that is not only cheaper but also more environmentally viable. This breaks the profit-making cycle for the producers and voila! Strike 1.

Environmentally Viable

Millions of metric tons of materials in waste is dumped across the globe every year. In an obvious manner, Upcycling reduces the waste material produced every year and the larger the number of practitioners higher the reduction. But the not so obvious psychological freedom to choose your own products is the real strike.

Mental and Physical Health

One of the most important factors in adapting to upcycle your products at home is the mental and physical health benefits. Although physical health benefits are a long shot choice one can make the very practices provides the mental relief that comes with a creative hobby such as crafting, painting or gardening. That’s strike 3!

Giving up a lifestyle is not an easy choice but a conscious decision that needs practice, but with thousands of ideas on social media platforms, Upcycling is the first step towards bringing down consumerism and healthier environment.

About Saad B. Murtaza

Saad is a journalist, researcher and new media strategist from Pakistan with around a decade of experience under his belt. He started his career with conventional investigative journalism but his love for new media technologies, thirst for knowledge and out of box thinking lead him to expand his horizon into new media strategies, data journalism and research.

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