Ed Cotton: Upcycling Is Logical

Ed Cotton: Upcycling Is Logical

As the earth runs out of natural resources, the price of basic commodities will increase and making it necessary for us to upcycle.

Caroline Ku
  • 5 august 2011

If you read the reports of expert analysts in commodity markets they will tell you that the earth’s resources aren’t finite and in many cases we are soon going to be running short of certain essential supplies.

From an economic perspective, it’s simple—we are going to have to pay more for a number of key commodities.

Obviously, this will impact the price consumers pay, but not all these prices can be passed on to consumers, so companies and brands need to get creative.

Net- this isn’t about the do good feel of sustainability and pleasing a small portion of your audience, more important than keeping hippies happy and saving the planet, it’s about doing the one thing that matters most to every company; saving money  which is the one thing that makes your CEO, CFO and shareholders much happier people.

If you aren’t thinking about your raw materials and waste stream and how you might be able to get some of the items that are thrown out and discarded by consumers back into your system, you are missing a trick.

Every year consumers discard billions of items, the vast majority of it never gets re-used or recycled, much is sent to landfill. Even those brands and companies who are employing some kind of scheme, don’t end up owning the materials, they get sent out to third parties and used overseas or melted down and returned back to the industry. They are recycled and maybe upcycled by other people. not you and you end up missing the opportunity.

If the challenge is too daunting for a single company to take on- why don’t companies form consortia to organize the reclaiming of materials and then buy from the pool?

There’s much more that could be done here and those that move first and fastest are  going to be able to seize the advantage, those that wait on the sidelines are going to find themselves victims of spiraling raw materials prices that will seriously impact the financial health of their business.

Finally, as way of illustration, take a look at this film- it’s from a tiny glasses manufacturer- Shwood in Portland, Oregon who’s just create a line of glasses made from upcycled skateboards.

It shows how simple and straightforward it can be- a great product made from old, that just makes common sense.

Image by Sam Householder.


Ed Cotton is the Director of Strategy at BSSP, and is curious about all things relating to brands, marketing and culture. Read more at Influx Insights.


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