Research: Upcycling & the MMXX Collection

By: G. Francis 2020 MMXX Collection

There is a need to address Trash. We make more then our county knows what to do with. It piles high. Trash is collected and hidden away from plain view, and yet, it piles high. In our water, in our bodies, in our ecosystems. I’d say that my way of helping to minimize my carbon footprint and environmental impacts upon vulnerable populations has come in the form of upcycling with a purpose. My goal is to spread awareness of Environmental Justice with the critical factor here being to serve vulnerable populations who are currently and will continue to face the harsh reality of nature’s forces as it succumbs to our consumerism. View the MMXX Collection

Upcycling is a process in which used or waste products and materials are repaired, reused, repurposed, refurbished, upgraded and remanufactured in a creative way to add value to the compositional elements. It has been part of human life throughout history, and the past few years have seen its revival, driven by multiple factors including growing concern for the environment and resource scarcity. Upcycling increases quality and lifetimes of materials and products, reduces wastes, creates employment opportunities, and encourages sustainable consumer behaviour. Despite such benefits and increasing interest, upcycling is largely considered as a niche practice.

Jagdeep Singh , Kyungeun Sung , Tim Cooper , Katherine West , Oksana Mont

It started with a conversation about unneeded packaging and turned into an enjoyable long term process for myself. To make these products, I had to seek donations. Often, that which I received came with a friendly “this was sitting in a closet.” With so much, we can feel like we have so little. I didn’t realize how much material I had laying around waiting to become that which I display as the MMXX Collection. My process was a shift to my mental state.

This compartment was Paper Packaging from a Computer Product

Each time I went to throw something away or anyone went to throw something away, I would think about how I could turn it into something else. Something useful and beautiful. I would say the MMXX Collection is my way of presenting how to be adaptive when presented with scientific information. Current research tells us that people are suffering and will continue to suffer. Yet, as social workers or members of this planet, I suggest that we can find unique and personal ways to engage with the realities of environmental dis-justice. Not everyone is going to start crafting upcycled materials, but you might be a consumer of them… Why by new from a large corporation when you can buy one person trash that is now handcrafted with intention. Meaning-making is the process of cultivating an identity. I am glad to share this meaning-making process and journey with you.

I had to save/seek out/look for plastic bags to hold the products
Again All Scraps were put together to make something new
Small Scraps of Burlap were pieced together for the backing
It was a small rug to be tossed out but now it’s Wall Decor

Published by Gabrielle Francis Conrad-Amlicke, MSW

Advocate for Environmental Social Work & CEO Founder Environmental Social Work LLC

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