Circular economy

Recycling Christmas presents is cooler with upcycling

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

According to a study promoted by Espresso Communication, almost half of Italians recycle old presents.

Are you short of ideas about what to get for that distant uncle for Christmas? Do you have some object you don’t use, or some ugly present somebody gave to you? Good news: recycling presents – in a practical more than ecological sense – is now a fashionable habit that goes by the name of upcycling. This term designates the reusing of one or more objects, combined together to create something new.

A study promoted by the Espresso Communication agency used a so-called WOA (Web Opinion Analysis) to interview about 1.500 people between 18 and 65 years of age. According to the results of the survey, 1 in 2 Italians (48%) considers buying or creating these original “upcycled” items as Christmas presents. The most popular are home decorations (44%), such as refurbished pallets; renewed clothes (42%), modernized vintage bijoux (33%). The main motivations are attention to sustainability (61%), originality (47%) and the economic crisis (34%). Most upcycling fans are women between 30 and 45 years of age (57%), especially in metropolitan areas such as Milan (56%) and Rome (54%).

The survey shows that upcycling is not only about saving: many consumers are motivated by an increasing interest in sustainability and in the environmental impact of production and transports (61%), and also by the opportunity to customize their presents (47%), while some are pressed by financial needs (33%). Moreover, some consumers do it because it’s in fashion (21%) or because they value the originality of items made with recycled materials and ennobled by handwork (13%).

53% of women and 43% of men declared they intend to use “revisited” objects as a present. Most of them are between 30 and 45 years old (57%), while 45% are between 46 and 65 years old, and 41% are under 29 years old. This phenomenon is particularly preset in bigger cities, such as Milan (56%), Rome (54%), Turin (53%), Bologna (51%), and Naples (49%).

The term “upcycling” is not exactly new: it was coined in 1984 by journalist Reiner Pilz and made popular by the book of the same name written in 1997 by Gunter Pauli.

Here’s the top ten of the most popular “upcycled” Christmas presents

  1. Home decorations (44%)
  2. Revisited clothing items(42%)
  3. Modernized vintage bijoux (33%)
  4. Lamps (24%)
  5. Clocks (22%)
  6. Pet beds (18%)
  7. Shoes (15%)
  8. Restored bicycles (13%)
  9. Vases and boxes (11%)
  10. Bottle holders and crates (7%)
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