To upcycle something is to take a used object and adapt it in an innovative way to a new function. Unlike recycling, which usually involves breaking down the material an object is made from, before it is made into something else (thereby using more energy), upcycling involves using something in a new way without doing anything to reprocess the material it's made from. As well as being more energy efficient, another major benefit of upcycling is that it makes it possible to reuse items made of materials which couldn't be dealt with by conventional recycling methods. When something is upcycled, nothing, or very little, is discarded, with every component part or material having a potential use.
An upcycled product is generally of higher value than the materials or objects used to create it – hence examples like metal ring pulls becoming jewellery items such as brooches or earrings, low-value coins becoming cufflinks, and so on.