Upcycle - searching through Etsy's website you'll run across the word upcycle over and over, in descriptions, in tags and even in the forums. Ever wonder where the word came from and what exactly it means.
The word upcycled was coined by authors, William McDonough and Michael Braungart, in their wonderful book Cradle to Cradle; Remaking the Way We Make Things. I highly recommend this book if you've never had the chance to read it. This book totally challenges the way we think about how things are made. The authors argue that to recycle something generally turns higher quality products into lower quality ones useful only for purposes other than the original product, and then eventually discards them. This is not recycling; it's slow motion waste. Instead, they suggest to make buildings that actually produce more energy than they use and shoes that when they are unwearable you can compost the souls and return the upper part to the shoe maker to be remade into shoes.
Upcycling is defined as the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value.
All the pictures in this post were found searching upcyle on Etsy. (Just click on the pictures to go to the shop with the item, to learn more about the item.)