The first recorded use of the term upcycling was by Reiner Pilz in 1994.
He talks about the impending EU Demolition Waste Streams directive.
"Recycling," he said, "I call it [down-cycling]. They smash bricks, they smash everything. What we need is [up-cycling], where old products are given more value, not less."
Pilz despairs of the German situation and recalls the supply of a large quantity of reclaimed woodblock from an English supplier for a contract in Nuremberg, while just down the road a load of similar block was scrapped. In the road outside his premises was the result of the Germans' demolition "waste" recycling. "It was a pinky looking aggregate with pieces of handmade brick, old tiles, and discernible parts of useful old items mixed with crushed concrete. Is this the future for Europe?"