DIY Upcycling, Downcycling and Recycling

Different Forms of Reuse
  • Upcycling
    • Process of taking post-consumer products and turning them into products with more value than the original
  • Downcycling
    • Recovery of material from post-consumer products that cannot be fully recycled
    • Leads to products of lesser quality than original
    • Ex. melting plastic bottles for use in polyester clothing
  • Recycling
    • Process of breaking down a product into its base components
    • Can be made into products of comparable quality
    • Ex. breaking down scrap paper into pulp to make new paper
Tips for Recycling
  • Make sure you understand what materials can actually be recycled
  • Wash recyclable before putting into receptacle
  • Know the recycling codes (generally 1-5 are accepted everywhere)
    1. PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
    2. HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)
    3. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
    4. LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene)
    5. PP (Polypropylene)
Recycle Upcycle Poster

Contact Us

Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy
325 Montgomery Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: 815-753-6563
Fax: 815-753-2902
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