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TerraCycle Inc. "upcycles" unrecyclable waste into products like pencil cases and tote bags. (TerraCycle Canada/TerraCycle Canada)
TerraCycle Inc. "upcycles" unrecyclable waste into products like pencil cases and tote bags. (TerraCycle Canada/TerraCycle Canada)

Upcycling

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Upcycling, the process of manufacturing new products from material that would otherwise be headed for the landfill, is gaining in popularity. Here are a few of the best upcycling Twitter feeds to follow.

@Looptworks

Scott Hamlin doesn’t believe in waste.

To prove it, in 2009, Mr. Hamlin co-founded the Portland, Ore.-based company Looptworks, an online-apparel company that makes limited-edition jackets, hoodies, skirts, shirts and graphic tees. But here's the twist: All of Looptworks' products are made from (gasp!) “upcycled,” or excess manufacturing fabric and materials.

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Hamlin uses social media to boost the awareness and tout the benefits of upcycle, or “closed loop” manufacturing. He hopes more people will think about what they buy, where it comes from and what natural resources are required to produce it.

Sample Tweet: Fact 'o Monday: Find out how many beers you can drink by upcycling ONE LOOPTWORKS tee!

@bikepirates

This do-it-yourself collective, which started up in 2006, puts the ‘cycle’ into ‘upcycle’. In addition to teaching bike maintenance at their Toronto store, and giving bikes to local charities, volunteers for Bike Pirates build new bikes from donated parts, with costs for a fully refurbished ride ranging from $50 to $300.

Sample Tweet: Earth hour? Fixing bikes by candlelight sounds pretty hardcore.

@TerraCycle

Trenton, N.J.-based TerraCycle's purpose is to eliminate the idea of waste entirely. The company, which was founded in 2001 by Tom Szaky, turns hard-to-recycle waste like potato-chip bags and computer equipment into new-again products. More than 20 million people currently collect waste in 11 countries for the company to upcycle. The Twitter stream is full of industry trends and links to upcycled goods.

Sample Tweet: Check out great upcycling contest by @methodtweet and @dwell http://bit.ly/jeucy9

@MATT_AND_NAT

Montreal-based company Matt & Nat makes ‘leather-like’ cruelty-free bags, wallets and other accessories, using no animal products. The company is also a big fan of upcycling – they use an average of 21 plastic bottles to make the linings of their chic bags.

Sample Tweet: check out our collaboration with charity water! www.mattandnat.com

@billmcdonough

Through his book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, William McDonough brought the term “upcycling” to the mainstream. McDonough is also the founding principal of William McDonough + Partners, an architecture and community design firm in Charlottesville, Va., that focuses on ecologically-, socially- and economically-minded architecture and planning. He primarily tweets news about eco-friendly companies and closed-loop manufacturing.

Sample Tweet: What a pleasure to spend time with the savvy team at @Method today in SF-- they are Cradle to Cradle believers, focused on “more good”

@echosintheattic

Based in Bradford, ON, Echoes In The Attic reclaims scraps and samples of fabric bound for landfill – up to 500lbs of it every two weeks – and fashions it into one-of-a-kind hand-made bags and purses. Follow company co-founder Laura Jennekens for their latest news and to see sneak peaks of new creations.

Sample Tweet: Summer 2011 Collection is looking pretty good. We're actually turning our attention to Fall looks already yikes!

@wornagainUK

Since 2005, Cyndi Rhoades' London upcycling company Worn Again has made designer products from corporate waste materials. The company's motto? “Some things are just too good to go to waste.” Worn Again's Twitter feed offers tips and news about new technologies and emerging trends within the closed-loop movement.

Sample Tweet: “A stepping stone to closed-loop” - Upcycled @EurostarUK bags from uniforms by @wornagainuk: http://bit.ly/ksvT7I

@JointheLoop

Edmonton-based paper recycling company Greys transforms old glass, plastic and paper into pavement blocks, sand and office paper. Follow their Twitter feed for their latest exploits and for lots more Alberta-based upcycle news.

Sample Tweet: Become part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Join the Loop @ www.greys.ca

@etsy

Since 2005, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based meg, online mall for all things crafty, handmade and vintage has become something of a Mecca for refurbished goods as well. The company's Twitter stream consists of tips and advice for both buyers and sellers on the site, as well as green biz and upcycling news.

Sample Tweet: Upcycling a revolution. http://etsy.me/lOZs5w via @shareabledesign

@Reuse Alliance

MaryEllen Etienne is the co-founder and executive director of Reuse Alliance, a New York-based non-profit that promotes the benefits of reusing waste. The organization aims to educate the public about the social, environmental and economic benefits of reusing goods. Etienne tweets the latest green business news and loads of interesting upcycled products.

Sample Tweet: You Can Hang Ten on Artist Rich Morrison’s Upcycled Beer Can Surfboard: http://bit.ly/mUnjkH via @Inhabitat #reuse #fb

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