Yes, I know of a couple instances where upcycling has been used. Instead of burning tires for their energy, which only allows us to get back 25% of the energy used to make the tire, some companies shred tires to make the mulch at the bottom of playgrounds. There is also a company called terracycle.net that takes materials such as capri sun wrappers and turns it into things like purses or backpacks.
I wouldn’t say that entire industries have embraced upcycling, however, there are more and more companies exploring the possibility of upcyclying. Companies that have evaluation by cradle-to-cradle would be considering upcycling in their design process. Cradle-to-cradle certified products can be seen at http://c2c.mbdc.com/c2c/list.php?order=type . From the looks of it most of the products are from cleaning and care, and home systems industries. There is still a long way to go before upcycling becomes a industry standard for any industry but as consumers we have the power to support products that have been designed with upcycling in mind.
Upcycling is becoming trendy in the worlds of fashion and interior design. The creative potential with upcycling is mostly untouched although there is some off-the-wall designs coming out in both industries. The link below features a blender which has been turned into a lamp.
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