Recycling, Upcycling, and Eco-cycling Trends

Companies across the globe are beginning to take their recycling efforts to the next level. In a term frequently called “upcycling” or that TrendWatching is calling “Eco-Cyclogy”,  major brands are starting to take back their old products from customers to construct them into something new.

What is Upcycling?upcycled bottles

Although this trend may be newer in the corporate world, it is not new overall. The idea of upcycling old items by turning junk into something pretty or useful has been a common occurrence across the globe.  After a product is donated to a thrift shop, it could get upcycled and make its way into an upcycled etsy shop. Companies are doing it too, in their own way. The Nike brand was a corporate pioneer in taking back their products with a recycling program they started back in 1990 called Reuse-A-Shoe. Twenty-five million pairs of worn out shoes later, they have expanded the program to turn old shoes into a substance they call Nike Grind, which is used in everything from playground surfaces to new Nike products.

Technology Companies Reducing e-Waste

With rapidly changing technology and electronics, many high-tech manufacturers and stores are making a reduction of e-waste high priority. Take-back or trade-in programs are becoming popular with electronics like cell phones and computers and are often being used as promotions. Target, Walmart, and Radio Shack all have trade-in programs for electronics. Another way companies are taking back old products is through partnerships. One example is Dell ReConnect, who is in a partnership with Goodwill Industries. With 2200+ participating locations across the US and Canada, consumers can bring in their computers, laptops, printers, and monitors (of any brand) to be recycled and refurbished.

Government Mandated Recycling

Eco-Cyclogy goes beyond just what companies and brands are doing to recycle innovatively and responsibly. Many proactive cities, states, and countries have enacted mandatory recycling laws for their area. For instance, by 2019, in the European Union, countries must process 85% of all its electronic waste.

Manufacturers, consumers, and governments are setting the standards for recycling by keeping old products out of landfills and making them into something new. Have you traded in or gave back any of your old electronics or other products? Does your employer have any innovative take-back promotions? What do you think about the upcycling or eco-cycling trend?



  1. Great article! It’s great to see large corporations jump in the upcycling bandwagon …. We actually wrote on this topic a little while back:

  2. Upcycling is a great way to recycling used, broken or unneeded products! Wonderful article. Thanks!

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