Special Issue "Sustainable Consumption and Production by Upcycling: Advances in Science and Practices"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Kyungeun Sung
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
De Montfort University, UK
Interests: circular economy; sustainable consumption; sustainable design; sustainable production; upcycling
Dr. Jagdeep Singh
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Lund University, Sweden
Interests: circular economy; life cycle assessment; sharing economy; sustainable consumption; upcycling
Prof. Tim Cooper
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Nottingham Trent University, UK
Interests: product longevity; public policy; sustainable consumption; sustainable design; sustainable production

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mass production and consumption based on virgin materials have been the mainstream practice for decades across industrialised nations. During this period, many useful skills of maintenance and repair have been lost with the rise of the consumer society, while planned premature obsolescence has become commonplace, leading to significant environmental impacts. Reducing the current unsustainable levels of resource consumption requires slowing and closing material cycles.

Upcycling—the creation or modification of a product from used or waste materials, components and products of equal or higher quality or value than their compositional elements—is a promising alternative to mass production and consumption based on the use of virgin materials (Singh et al., 2019). In theory, upcycling reduces waste and extends the lifetimes of products and materials, thereby increasing material efficiency and reducing energy consumption. It has the potential to create new employment opportunities, support a “prosumer” culture, and encourage sustainable consumer behaviour. However, despite the numerous anticipated benefits, upcycling remains a niche practice. There has been a growing academic and industrial interest in upcycling, particularly related to the emerging circular economy, but research in upcycling is still at an infant stage. The development of upcycling theory and practices is required if there is to be a transition in upcycling from niche to mainstream.

This Special Issue of Sustainability is seeking papers that enhance our understanding of upcycling as a design, production, or consumption practice in different socio-cultural contexts. We welcome articles disseminating high-quality research of: (a) conceptual studies; (b) empirical work including experimental studies, interviews and surveys; (c) best practice case studies; and (d) holistic reviews.

Dr. Kyungeun Sung
Dr. Jagdeep Singh
Prof. Tim Cooper
Guest Editors


Singh, J., Sung, K., Cooper, T., West, K., Mont, O., 2019. Challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses – The case of textile and wood upcycling businesses in the UK. Resour. Conserv. Recycl. 150, 104439. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.RESCONREC.2019.104439.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • circular economy
  • sustainable consumption
  • sustainable design
  • sustainable production
  • upcycling

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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