What's Down is Up

By: John A. Lanier

Researchers have developed a recycling technology that allows them to turn polyurethane foams and films into a dense plastic with potential applications like shopping cart wheels or car bumpers. I can get down with that kind of upcycling.

In desperate search for new quarantine activities for our young children, my wife discovered a cool idea awhile back. We started saving paper towel and toilet paper tubes, and when we had enough, she taped them to our wall with painter’s tape. They zig-zag down the wall, the end of one tube leading to the opening of the next, creating a track for marbles to roll down. It was a hit with our kids, and a great example of upcycling those tubes.

Apparently I’ve never written about upcycling and downcycling before. Maybe this subject is common knowledge, or maybe not. I really have no idea. But I’m notorious for a forced opening, and this gives me an angle to share a cool news story, so up/downcycling it is!

Most people know the basics of recycling. Take the humble aluminum can – by tossing it in the blue bin, we set it on a path to being melted down and then recast as a new aluminum can. One aluminum can becomes another in an endless loop – the exemplar of recycling.

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