Upcycling with Cyrkl? That’s also possible!

6. 8 .2021, Simone Grasso

Already more than 6500 companies operate through Cyrkl in different European countries, creating local and global forms of cooperation. Different categories of materials, waste and by-products are exchanged in order to be recycled or reused in new production processes. Although the main reasons for buying high quality secondary raw materials are often the potential monetary savings and emission savings that companies might have instead of buying virgin raw materials, sometimes materials have been exchanged for more creative purposes, having unexpected destinations even for us.

Although it is quite a known concept, a definition is needed. Upcycling refers to the creative reuse of waste, residues or by-products that gives to these materials greater economic, artistic or environmental utility. Contrary to those who believe that the world of waste is anything but creative, the lack of creativity is one of the very causes of waste production.

Creating waste is a natural process that we as humans, our planet and therefore our economic system perform. In nature, waste often provides nourishment to create new life. In our production systems, unfortunately, they often accumulate, creating problems of overproduction, management and disposal. Moving towards a circular economy means, among other things, minimizing one's own waste and finding a place for the waste that is inevitably produced, in order to effectively close the circle. 

Many actions can be implemented to keep the materials from which these products are made in circulation. In some cases, the reuse of waste materials is already possible and, if not within the company that produces them, perhaps by another that uses that raw material, in that physical state, as a production input. In more frequent cases, reprocessing these by-products is necessary to make them ready for the manufacturing process. However, given the quality of certain by-products, it is considerably cheaper to use secondary raw materials than virgin raw materials, especially given the environmental issues and emissions related to the extraction, transport and processing of raw materials. When this is not possible, recycling of materials follows, so that they return to a state in which they can be reused again. 

Of all the strategies presented, recycling contrasts with upcycling precisely because in the case of recycling there is a loss of value of the material, which despite being recovered to a large extent, will not retain the same quality as the original material and will have required an amount of energy for the recycling process. This is why, whenever possible, the creative use of waste is preferable. 

Some cases of material upcycling through Cyrkl - Waste2Resource Marketplace 

Material reuse is frequently happening for companies currently active on Cyrkl, who buy waste materials and put them back into their production cycle. There are many stories of materials currently in circulation that we could tell you, but we have decided to present two slightly more unusual and creative ones. 

Cyrkl's path recently crossed with that of this non-profit company in Prague, which builds rides and attractions for children. Their idea is to use wood, steel, tyres and frames to build rides such as swings, slides and even climbing walls. On Cyrkl they can find these materials and use them for building their playgrounds. 

Even the much loved and hated plastic is reused through Cyrkl. We met Elias Bauer - digital artist and skater, who decided to build skateboard components by reusing high-density polyethylene. It all started from his desire to build objects by reusing plastic scraps. "I think plastic has a great value. In fact, this is not the first project I have done using recycled plastic," says Elias. Choosing the right type of material, however, was not an easy task. "I found high-density polyethylene to be the right material to build the parts I needed, and I bought a few kg of material through Cyrkl for testing. Now I can build solid skateboards with reused materials at a much more affordable price. I would like to encourage the reuse of plastic as a solution to this problem”, he concludes. 

Whether small craftsmen or large companies, everyone is welcome at Cyrkl. We have materials for everyone to reuse, and most of the credits go to all the companies who decide to offer their materials and not send them to landfill. For our part, we hope to see more and more upcycling take place through Cyrkl and tell you about it soon. 

To discover much more cases about avoided emissions and financial savings, experienced by companies by using Cyrkl, download and read our white paper.

‐ Simone Grasso

Cyrkl in the media