Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Recycle, Reuse, Reclaim, Salvage, Upcycle: Words to Live By

Because I am pretty new to selling glass art, I have been checking out other people’s stuff online to see what they are making and how much they are selling it for. I have seen a lot of cool stuff out there, but I have come to the conclusion that people need to use a dictionary when they are describing their glass art. So in this blog entry I will attempt to define several “green” terms that are commonly misused or misunderstood. Whenever you see my description of my glass products, you will know that I follow closely the following definitions:

Recycle – Recycling is the process of reclaiming materials from used products or materials from their manufacturing and using them in the manufacturing of new products. -sustainabilitydictionary.com

"Bones"- left over edges from flattened light sconces
 When a plastic bag is recycled into a new plastic bag, it is melted down and reprocessed into a new bag.  It may not be the same color, size or other similar characteristics to the original bag. It may have even been changed into something completely different than a bag like plastic car paneling, or polar fleece. When I recycle glass it means that I take old used glass and change it into a new object. When I make stained glass out of bottles, I first cut the bottles, then fire them in my kiln, then cut them to shape and assemble them into the stained glass piece. When I make tiles, I crush the bottles into powder and then fire them into molds in the kiln. Some of my recycled glass jewelry is made by simply cutting out patterns from bottles or vases and using just that bottle or pattern in the jewelry.

Reuse – noun 2. the act or process of using again. - Dictionary.com
“Often, the most sustainable option is to reuse materials and objects already manufactured, either for their original or new purposes, rather than recycle them into other products. This decreases further energy and materials use in recreating them into a new form.“ -stainabilitydictionary.com

People will often reuse bottles or vases by gluing, cementing, or painting objects onto them. The glass objects retain their original form, but are just decorated. The bottle does not undergo any major changes or processing.

The temple was made from recycled light sconces, but the
 sky was made of salvaged glass a lady was getting rid of.
Reclaimed – verb 2. to recover (substances) in a pure or usable form from refuse, discarded articles, etc. -Dictionary.com

Reclaimed means it has already been thrown away. Objects may be reclaimed to either be recycled or reused.

Salvage - noun 2. the act of saving any goods or property in danger of damage or destruction -Dictionary.com

Salvage may or may not have been thrown away, but without intervention would otherwise be destroyed.

Bottle bottom boxes are upcycled because the new
product is deffinitly worth more than hte original bottles
they are made out of.
  Upcycle - The process of converting an industrial nutrient (material) into something of similar or greater value, in its second life. sustainabilitydictionary.com

Upcycle is a new phrase that I have seen used for items that are both recycled and reused. I believe that to be upcycled the object should be worth more after the alterations have been made.

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