Difference Between Recycling and Upcycling

Difference Between Recycling and Upcycling

Cleaning up the surroundings is necessary because it helps minimize the use of waste products. Recycling and upcycling have been the greatest factors contributing to the well-being of the environment in our everyday life. When waste products are recycled and upcycled, they reduce the capacity of discarded materials sent to the landfill every year.

So, in this article, we will describe both upcycling and recycling, then look at how different they are in terms of processing.


Recycling is a process whereby waste products are collected, broken down, and transformed into new materials. Recyclable materials are important since they reduce the volume of wastes sent to landfills. It also increases the employment rate in the industry where people are paid for manufacturing recycled products. Some of the materials that can be made from recycling are glasses, papers, plastics, and metals.


It is a process in which used products are modified into valuable and useful. Clothing, tin cans, woods, and glasses are some of the examples of upcycling. Mostly, the materials upcycled have high quality compared to the original one.


  • Recycling involves breaking the wastes to create something new while Upcycling is taking the wastes and transforming them into something new and valuable in their same state.
  • Recycling involves mechanical and chemical processes, while Upcycling needs creativity to create new things.
  • Upcycling does not consume a lot of time, within a few hours, you can convert a waste product into something beautiful while Recycling requires big processing which takes a lot of time.
  • Upcyling  benefits the economy because it saves water compared to Recycling which needs a lot of water when manufacturing the procucts. In Upcycling, some product can be used without water.
  • Upcycling is less costly than recycling. To do Recycling, one needs a big set up, land, resources, and human resources.