From trash to treasure: Designing upcycling systems

Sou Sydney PUN

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


People of the world incessantly take natural resources make them into products and trash them after a while. This take, make and waste production and consumption model is no longer socially ethically and humanly viable. There are other alternatives and one of which is upcycling: a waste take and make creative endeavour. Upcycling carries connotations of both upgrading and recycling. To upgrade is to add value – be it monetary, aesthetic, functional or ethical – to waste. If you respect the practical value of a plastic bottle, you can reuse it repeatedly. If you appreciate its form, you can transform it into a decorative chandelier or product packaging. In this sense, supposed waste can generate revenue through repurposing which not only reduces waste but also enhances the creativity of designers, artists and producers as they move towards a more eco-aware and ethical mode of practice. People’s moral, integrity and capabilities are upgraded at the same time as the waste. This paper records Hong Kong’s first experiment on upcycling systems design. Spanning across material collecting, upcycling design, local production and public dissemination, there are insights and proposals towards a sustainable system that will cast impact on our strategies of waste handling and energy saving.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event15th UNESCO-APEID International Conference: “Inspiring Education: Creativity and Entrepreneurship” - Jakarta, Thailand
Duration: 06 Dec 201108 Dec 2011


Conference15th UNESCO-APEID International Conference: “Inspiring Education: Creativity and Entrepreneurship”


Pun, S. (2011, December). From trash to treasure: Designing upcycling systems. Paper presented at the 15th UNESCO-APEID International Conference, Jakarta, Indonesia.


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