Upcycling in History: Is the Past a Prologue to a Zero-Waste Future? The Case of Aluminum


Upcycling—creating new goods from salvage. Once a fashionable trait of modern designers, it is now integrated into large-scale industrial production. The history of aluminum not only illustrates how upcycling has helped producers increase profitability since the 1950s by turning low value materials into high value products; it also shows how the transformation processes involved in a circular system of reuse can challenge its environmental sustainability. Using lessons learned from material histories such as this could allow for more effective zero-waste strategies in the future.

DOI: doi.org/10.5282/rcc/7542