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Is There a Difference Between Upcycling and Recycling?

At CeilingConnex, we are proud to offer environmentally-friendly products and materials whenever possible.

One of the best examples of eco-friendly products that we offer is the Barn Tin Ceiling Tiles. These ceiling tiles, which fit perfectly with our direct mount system, are not freshly-manufactured products, nor are they recycled products.

Our Barn Tin Ceiling Tiles are “upcycled.”

Upcycling is similar to recycling, but it has small yet significant differences. Recycling is an important practice, but as you’ll find out, upcycling can actually be more environmentally-friendly.

Recycling vs. Upcycling: What’s the Real Story

Recycling vs Upcycling: What is the Difference?

What is Recycling Anyhow?

We’ve heard it for decades, but do we really know what it means? Recycling takes raw materials that would otherwise end up in the landfill and processes them into new items. Through recycling, old newspapers are made new paper materials. Plastic, metal, glass; all of these items can be processed through recycling to create a new item.

Let’s look at how recycling works for tin cans as an example. If you have a bin full of old tin cans to recycle, you would take it to the local recycling center and drop it in the collection dumpster. In most cases, “tin” cans are steel with a tin coating, so the cans are then dipped in caustic chemicals, which removes the tin exterior and exposes the inner steel. The steel is then sold to steel mills while the liquid with the tin is filtered, processed, and eventually becomes new tin for various purposes.

Recycling helps keep waste out of landfills, conserves natural resources (such as timber to make new paper), and can even save energy.

What is Upcycling?

Upcycling, which is also referred to as “creative reuse,” is a different form of recycling that does not include significantly processing the material. Instead of breaking down the metal, glass, or plastics, the material is simply reformed, reshaped, or readjusted to fit a unique purpose.

Our barn tin ceiling tiles are the perfect example of upcycling. Instead of taking barn tin, processing it, and turning it into unrecognizable raw material, the tin is basically taken down, cleaned, and cut into 2x2 sections. These sections are now ready to mount on a wall or ceiling to create a unique, rustic design. No chemical breakdown, no shipping in and out of processing centers; just fast, easy, clean upcycling.

Is One Better Than the Other?

It’s impossible to say whether recycling or upcycling is better, as both a have their purposes. With recycling, you can create virtually any product imaginable; tin cans can become steel for cars, glass bottles can become windows, plastic milk jugs can become...nearly anything! That’s not entirely achievable with upcycling.

Upcycling, however, reduces the time, effort, and energy it takes to create a new product. There is no major processing, so in the end it’s a simple, straightforward practice that is almost always easier on the environment.

Barn Tin Ceiling Tiles: Upcycling at its Finest!

You can have high-quality upcycled Barn Tin Ceiling Tiles for your bar or retail space by working with CeilingConnex.

You’ll also be able to find a complete grid system that works perfectly with your tiles, so check out our collection today!