September 12th, 2010

E-cycling E-waste

The upcycled Nokia Remade

Automakers have long given their best designers free rein to come up with ”concept cars”-- prototypes that highlight some new design or high-tech feature but aren’t meant for the production line. Back in February, mobile-phone maker Nokia borrowed this idea and unveiled a concept phone called the Remade. The hook? It was made almost entirely of recycled materials, such as aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and even old car tires.

The Remade is an example of upcycling , a form of recycling that takes used or recycled materials and creates a new product with a quality or value higher than that of the original materials. Materials that are designed to be upcycled are called technical nutrients . Traditional recycling is sometimes described as downcycling because the quality of the material degrades with each life cycle. Recycled paper isn’t as nice as newly printed paper; recycled steel isn’t as strong as newly forged steel. (The in-between form—where the recycled material is basically the same as the original material—is called closedâ''loop recycling .)

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