A new word for both me and you.

According to the article I read this morning, “In 1968, the critic and landscape architect Charles Jencks wrote about repurposing design. He called it “adhocism” and described it in his book, Adhocism: The Case for Improvisation.”

This article was online this morning in the wonderful British newspaper, the Guardian, entitled “Why Adhocism is the best kind of recycling.” And among other things, I learned three distinctions:

  1. Recycling doesn’t really exist in the sense that we traditionally think of it. The prefix ‘re’ – implies again – meaning for example that the plastic milk jug that we put in the plastic bin for recycling actually returns again as a plastic milk jug. Which doesn’t happen.
  2. So what we typically think of as recycling is actually ‘downcycling’ which is taking something of greater value and returning it to use as something of lesser value.
  3. The preferential cycle for goods in their present form that have reached some stage of obsolescence is to ‘upcycle’ them. Meaning re-purpose them as something of greater value.

Downcycling is bad because economically speaking – micro as well as macro – it is costly. And from an energy perspective it is wasteful. And environmentally speaking, unfriendly.

Read the article here. 

See my inclusion in their publication here.

This makes me feel even better about the fundamentals of our sandal (and shoe) constructions which are all built on top of old airplane tire. For instance, the airplane tire that we reuse isn’t ending up in the landfill. And it isn’t being downcycled either. Instead we are taking an incredibly light and durable material and are upcycling it into yet other products that are both beautiful and re-purposed for the long haul.

And that’s future thinking; albeit 46 years after the fact.