When William McDonough and Michael Braungart popularized the term “upcycling” in their 2002 book Cradle to Cradle, they were referring to industrial-scale recycling and production. The term, however, has really captured the imagination of the crafty community: you don’t need to browse Etsy for long before coming across handmade products crafted out of used materials of some kind. And St. Louis’ own Upcycle Exchange is just one example of an organization that’s popped up to serve this niche though collecting and distributing materials that the more creative among us see as the basis of something new, useful, and likely even beautiful.
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