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I am looking for a word or phrase to express the idea of making one thing into an entirely new, better thing.

To give a little bit of context, this is in reference to recycling and upcycling.

  • How about recyling? Reshaping? – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Jul 7 '16 at 19:16
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    Transformation? – Mark Hubbard Jul 7 '16 at 19:18
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    You can start your search by looking up a word such as "change" and then search for synonyms. – Kristina Lopez Jul 7 '16 at 19:29
  • Questions which lack results of research are out of scope. Word or phrase requests are out of scope, unless they are expert-level, particularly interesting, unique, and thought-provoking, and show effort and research. For help writing a good question, see How to Ask. – MetaEd Jul 8 '16 at 18:37
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Repurposing would certainly apply to the context of recycling.

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Perhaps revamp is an appropriate term here. Although not associated with recycling per se it really captures the improvement bit.

Give new and improved form, structure, or appearance to:
an attempt to revamp the museum’s image
(as adjective revamped) a revamped magazine

Reference:
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/revamp

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I would suggest transmogrify:

transmogrify ‎(third-person singular simple present transmogrifies, present participle transmogrifying, simple past and past participle transmogrified)

  1. (transitive) To completely alter the form of.
  2. (intransitive) To completely alter one's form.

This word was used by Bill Watterson in his comics Calvin and Hobbes as a name for an imaginary invention which can completely alter one thing into another: the transmogrifier.

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  • There is no requirement of 'a better thing' here. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 7 '16 at 22:14
  • @EdwinAshworth that's fair; it was merely an alternative idea for OP's use if they wanted it. My original suggestion would've been "revamp", but that had already been submitted. :) – Pierce Darragh Jul 7 '16 at 22:23
  • Alternative ideas should be confined to 'comments' unless directly requested. OP here requests the 'better' constraint. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 7 '16 at 22:58

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