Developing Interventions for Scaling Up UK Upcycling




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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute



Peer reviewed



Upcycling presents one of many opportunities for reducing consumption of materials and energy. Despite recent growth evidenced by increasing numbers of practitioners and businesses based on upcycling, it remains a niche activity and requires scaling up to realise its potential benefits. This paper investigates UK household upcycling in order to develop interventions for scaling up upcycling in the UK. Mixed methods were used in four stages: (a) Interviews to gain insights into UK upcycling; (b) a survey to discover key factors influencing UK upcycling; (c) intervention development based on the synthesis of interviews and survey; and (d) use of a semi-Delphi technique to evaluate and develop initial interventions. The results showed approaches to upcycling (e.g., wood, metal and fabric as frequently used materials, online platforms as frequently used source of materials), context for upcycling (e.g., predominant use of home for upcycling), factors influencing UK upcycling with key determinants (i.e., intention, attitude and subjective norm), important demographic characteristics considering a target audience for interventions (i.e., 30+ females) and prioritised interventions for scaling up (e.g., TV and inspirational media and community workshops as short-term high priority interventions). The paper further discusses implications of the study in terms of development of theory and practice of upcycling.


open access article


carbon emissions, design, energy demand, intervention, policy, scaling up, sustainable consumption, sustainable behaviour, transition, upcycling


Sung, K., Cooper, T. and Kettley, S. (2019) Developing Interventions for Scaling Up UK Upcycling. Energies, 12 (14), 2778.


Research Institute

Institute of Art and Design