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9 Differences Between Recycling And Upcycling

The terms’ recycling’ and ‘upcycling’ are often confused, although both processes are very different and entirely unrelated. We will have a detailed look at both terms in this article, highlight the difference between the two, and figure out which process is more environmentally friendly. Upcycling lifts the product’s value and breaks it down into environmental and personal benefits. You can hand over your recyclable bottles to the bottle return depot after checking that bottle depot’s hours.

The Difference Between Recycling And Upcycling

Consumption of waste material

  • Recycling involves destroying waste material through industrial processes to create something new, and it can be done suitably at a bottle recycling depot.
  • In contrast, upcycling uses the same material and product to make a whole new product intended to serve an entirely different purpose.

Changes in integrity

  • Recycling involves an industrial process to reuse the materials, but with this process, the materials have greater chances of deteriorating and losing their integrity after a repeated breakdown. For example, plastic bottles become weaker as they undergo the recycling process repeatedly.
  • Whereas upcycling gives more value and adds life to the newly formed product. For example, jars or detergent bottles can be used as flower pots at your home.

Addition of new properties

  • Items that would have been disposed of can be recycled into products that serve completely new properties through recycling after being collected at a bottle depot in Calgary and other cities.
  • In contrast, upcycling involves old moulding products into new shapes.

Consumption of energy

  • The recycling process saves almost 50% of energy than it would be involved in processing raw material, and it also protects natural resources such as trees, coal, water, and oil.
  • In contrast, the circular economy concept is used in upcycling, where waste materials are used and restored to become functional.

Industrial process

  • Upcycling sometimes refers to as ‘creative recycling, and Upcycling has nothing similar to the industrial recycling process. Upcycling involves taking a waste item and turning it into a valuable product.
  • In contrast, recycling is an industrial process in which the previous product is broken down and converted into the same or another product.

Sorting or recyclable and upcyclable materials

  • In the recycling plant or a bottle depot in Calgary or elsewhere, the recyclable items are sorted according to their types and sizes and then finally converted into new products using bottle pick-up in Calgary and elsewhere.
  • In contrast, the items to be upcycled are primarily old and out of fashion. We can take an old chest of drawers as an example, and it can process sanding and polishing by changing its handles into new ones to make it a unique product ultimately.

Purpose of recycling and upcycling

  • Recycling can help to prevent waste from going into bins and landfills, which may otherwise release harmful toxins and emit greenhouse gases into the environment.
  • In contrast, upcycling reduces the need for energy and helps turn old products into new products intended for entirely different use.

Affect on community

  • Upcycling is intended to teach children and other communities to adopt green practices and positively impact the environment. Items like a bottle and old clothes can be turned into toys, flower pots, watering cans, etc.
  • In contrast, recyclable materials are collected from homes, commercial setups, industrial setups or bottle recycling depots, or a bottle return depot and taken to a recycling plant to be recycled into a new product.

Aim and purpose

  • Some products, such as aluminum and glass, can be recycled 100% effectively. In contrast, some products become weaker after recycling, such as paper and plastic, which is why they are mixed with fresh materials to make new products.
  • On the other hand, upcycling not only make things look better and newer but also serves as a means to give them all new purpose of use. For example, a plastic bottle can be turned into different products like birds feeders, fairy lights, or a plant pot, serving another purpose. For example, changing the shade can make your lamp look new and different.


To prevent the waste material from filling our landfills, we must practice recycling and upcycling as much as possible by availing bottle pick-up in Calgary and other areas after checking available bottle depot hours. Implementing practices that promote awareness regarding recycling and upcycling processes may help build a much more sustainable future for future generations.

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