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The Process of Downcycling: Turning Plastic Bags into Plastic Picnic Tables

     Many people assume that once they discard their old plastic bags or water bottles into a recycling container, that these items will be recycled and returned to their original form. Contrary to this popular belief, most of the items that people believe they are recycling actually become part of a process called downcycling.

Downcycling Differs From Recycling

While certain materials such as glass are suitable for a never-ending cycle of regeneration, plastic, paper, and certain metals are prone to break down and lose volume each time they are recycled. Therefore, it is more practical to downcycle certain products than to recycle them.

Downcycling is the process of taking materials that are less suitable for recycling and breaking them down and transforming them down into wholly new products. Downcycling is a very important aspect of the recycling business because producing brand new materials often has more adverse effects on the environment than simply reusing what is already available. Creating new products consumes more energy and materials than downcycled products, as well as adding more strain on our planetary resources.

Although many of the items that are sent to downcycling plants lose much of their volume in the process of transforming them into their new state, the process does not cause the materials to lose any of their strength or durability. This simply means that more of the discarded material will need to be added to each item as it is created.

Transforming Discarded Trash Into New Treasures

The transformation process of turning used items into brand new, fully functioning materials has created an entire industry for recycled products. The television industry has capitalized on this phenomenon by creating shows that cater to environmentalists, as well as common consumers who are interested in preserving our planet. In addition to the television industry, there are plenty of businesses that sell eco-friendly goods such as plastic picnic tables, commercial park benches, composite building materials and other unique items.

Perhaps more interesting than the downcycling process itself, is what these items originated as and what they have become. What was once a pile of plastic shopping bags are now plastic picnic tables that serve a daycare. Discarded water bottles can just as easily turn into commercial park benches that line the walkway of an office building, and aluminum cans may become a beautiful pergola surrounded by a garden.

As consumers are becoming more aware of the ability to recycle the goods that they purchase, it is equally as important that they attempt to purchase items that have been created using recycled or downcycled products. Purchasing transformed items has a far more positive impact on the environment, and they are just as durable as their newly generated counterparts. In addition to being good for the environment, many items that have been made from previously used products are comparable in price to brand new ones.

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Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information about commercial park benchess, please visit

Posted on 2012-01-05, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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