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Upcycling is defined as using or valuing every aspect of waste in order to give it a new useful life.

Typically, a piece of waste can be seen in two parts: the materials it's made from and the shape it is in. For example, a chip bag is made of thin plastic sheets. The shape is a thin sheet and the material is plastic. If you were to upcycle a chip bag, you would use the bag exactly as it is without melting it or changing its entire structure, so you would take advantage of the thin plastic sheets that make it up.

So to upcycle a chip bag, you could fuse it together or sew it into a bag. But if you were to melt it into another plastic shape or material, this would be considered recycling, not upcycling. By turning a single use chip bag into a tote bag or lunch sack, you are increasing its useful life cycle, thus "up" cycling it!

Check out some of the upcycled products that you can order through TerraCycle at www.terracycleshop.com.


Recycling is defined as extracting materials from one product and using them to make an entirely new product.

TerraCycle uses recycling processes to turn our post-consumer waste (the waste collected through our Brigade® programs) into recycled plastics that are then used to create new products such as recycling bins, park benches, and storage bins.

Our recycled products are manufactured at specialized facilities. To learn more about the manufacturing process, or to inquire about becoming a manufacturing partner, please click here.

Check out some of the recycled products you can order through TerraCycle at www.terracycleshop.com.