A-Z Popular Blog Top Search »
Related Comparisons

Upcycling vs Downcycling

 , updated on June 03, 2016
Upcycling is reuse of an item that results in something of greater value than the original. Downcycling is reuse of an item that results in something of lesser value than the original.
It typically requires creativity and labor to upcycle items. For example, wood recovered from the floor of a deconstructed building might be used to create fine furniture. Upcycling is commonly used to create art. The digital version of upcycling is often used to create music by sampling sources such as films or street noise. Generally speaking, upcycling tends to be difficult to scale and is less common than downcycling.
Downcycling can take the form of reuse or recycling. As an example of reuse, bricks from a building might be used to design a garden. Such bricks might be chipped and broken but have use to build a small garden wall or decorative feature. Recycling is the most common type of downcycling that reduces an item to its materials to produce something completely new. For example, books might become toilet paper.
Upcycling vs Downcycling
DefinitionReuse that results in items of greater value than the original.Reuse that results in items of lesser value than the original.
Typical ExamplesCrafts
AdvantageReduces waste by preserving value.Scale


This is the complete list of articles we have written about sustainability.
Adaptive Reuse
Broken Window Fallacy
Carbon Concrete
Cascading Failure
Circular Economy
CO2 Per Capita
Coal Power
Comparative Risk
Creeping Normality
Cultural Lag
Deep Water Cooling
Disaster Preparedness
District Heating
Do No Harm
Do Nothing Farming
Dollar Voting
Economic Bad
Electric Boat
Embodied Energy
Environmental Issues
Environmental Justice
Environmental Problems
Existential Risk
Farm Robots
Fruit Bagging
Global Change
Global Issues
Global Warming
Green Facade
Green Facades
Green Industry
Green Roof
Green Walls
Happiness Index
High-Speed Rail
Human Scale
Jevons Paradox
Keyhole Garden
Land Footprint
Light Pollution
Living Street
Market Failure
Missing Market
Moral Hazard
Natural Capital
Natural Resources
Nearly Car Free
Noise Pollution
Ocean Plastic Cleanup
Outside Context Problem
Passive Design
Point Of No Return
Precautionary Principle
Product Transparency
Quality Of Life
Race To The Bottom
Rainwater Harvesting
Resilient Cities
Safety By Design
Slow Design
Slow Movement
Smart Glass
Social Responsibility
Soft Engineering
Sunlight Transport
Sustainable Design
Sustainable Economics
Sustainable Lighting
Sustainable Materials
Tactical Urbanism
Urban Density
Urban Design
Urban Heat Island
Waste Is Food
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.

Daily vs Weekly Shopping

The shopping customs of cities.

Deconstruction vs Demolition

The difference between deconstruction and demolition.

Education vs Unlearning

The relationship between education and unlearning.

Grassroots vs Astroturfing

The difference between a grassroots movement and astroturfing.

Green Roof vs Roof Garden

The difference between a green roof and a roof garden.

Green vs Sustainable

The difference between green and sustainable.

Green Walls vs Green Facades

The difference between a green wall and green facade.

Problem Solving

An overview of problem solving with examples.

Thought Processes

A list of thinking approaches and types.


A definition of workaround with examples.

Creative Thinking

A list of common creative thinking techniques.


A list of common types of problems.

Analysis Paralysis

The definition of analysis paralysis with examples.

Arrow Of Time

The definition of the arrow of time with examples.

Business Problems

An overview of common business problems.

Decision Framing

The definition of decision framing with examples.


The common types of research.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map