Challenges and support for scaling up upcycling businesses in the UK: insights from small-business entrepreneurs

Sung, K. ORCID: 0000-0001-9570-7225, Cooper, T. ORCID: 0000-0001-8623-2918, Ramanathan, U. ORCID: 0000-0002-7473-4643 and Singh, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-9215-0166, 2017. Challenges and support for scaling up upcycling businesses in the UK: insights from small-business entrepreneurs. In: C.A. Bakker and R. Mugge, eds., PLATE: Product Lifetimes And The Environment 2017 - Conference Proceedings. Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands, 8-10 November 2017. Research in design (9). Delft: IOS Press, pp. 397-401. ISBN 9781614998204

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Upcycling is the creation or modification of a product from used materials, components and products which is of equal or higher quality or value than the compositional elements. Within the context of increased product longevity, it enables a reduction in the use of raw materials by extending the lifetime of used materials, components and products, thereby increasing material efficiency and reducing industrial energy consumption. If scaled up to a considerable level through appropriate interventions, upcycling could, in theory, contribute significantly to preventing environmental harm. In particular, upcycling-based businesses have been identified as one of sustainable alternatives to prevailing business models that are based on unrestrained access to virgin materials, in contrast with the circular economy. Previous research regarding upcycling has focused mostly on fashion and textiles and highlighted the potential of upcycling businesses, providing sector-specific suggestions for expansion beyond their currently niche status. There is a critical knowledge gap concerning ways of achieving the full potential of upcycling-based businesses across the whole economy. This paper therefore provides results from a study on the challenges that upcycling entrepreneurs face when attempting to scale up and how to overcome them, based on an exploratory workshop with 12 British upcycling entrepreneurs. It identifies the key challenges faced by upcycling businesses and presents a mapping of the systemic support required for overcoming them, with potential actors.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Creators: Sung, K., Cooper, T., Ramanathan, U. and Singh, J.
Publisher: IOS Press
Place of Publication: Delft
Date: November 2017
Number: 9
Divisions: Schools > School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment
Schools > Nottingham Business School
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 04 Jan 2018 12:26
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2018 12:26

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