Upcycling is a process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful. As known as creative reuse, upcycling gives an item a better purpose. Unlike the recycling, here the aim is not to break consumer materials down so their base materials can be remade into a new products, not to mention that often of lesser quality.
The upcycling idea is more about refashioning old or unwanted items, for example like ripping off old jeans into strips to make them more trendy, and the new jeans will have the same quality as when the creative reuse started.
What Can Be Upcycled ?
By upcycling many items are being removed from the global garbage stream, which mean it makes a positive impact on the environment. Converting old materials into new ones requires only creativity and elbow grease. Good thing about upcycling is that there are no restrictions about what can be used. If there is anything you no longer have a use for it, then it’s totally ready to be upcycled.
- Old Kitchen Utencils
- Outdated Furniture
- Used School Supplies
- Broken Down Gadgets
- Used Beverage Cartons
- Garden Tools and Accessories
- Old Clothing
- Paper Products
As every other process, upcycling can be easy when you know how. By thinking carefully in advance, when buying materials and products, how to creatively reuse them in the future, is the first step towards efficient upcycling. As it has been already said, many materials can be upcycled as long as you can’t use them anymore.
Here are some examples of what you can make with upcycling:
What Are The Benefits of Upcycling ?
- Reduces the amount of waste at the landfill. Cutting on the volume of rubbish that is being disposed at landfill greatly helps the environment. Having huge amounts of various waste bulked at a landfill site is considered as the most ineffective technique of waste management.
- Decreases the CO2 emissions. By upcycling almost anything you throw less items that emit CO2. This is highly related to having a lower number of landfills in the area as it is one of the main sources of carbon dioxide which leads to global warming and climate change.
- Helps many to earn a living. Upcycling unusable items into completely sellable things for which there is some demand among the people living close to you can help you earn a significant financial profit that may turn out to be a large part of your monthly income. Making kid’s toys with upcycling is easy, profitable and people like to spend not too much on it as kids quickly lose their interest for them after being used a few times.
- Saves energy and water. Upcycling everyday stuff requires mostly effort, time and not too much of some crafty materials. Overall, this is resources everyone can afford without hurting the environment. Recycling on the other hand, requires tons of energy and water supply which have been gathered through methods that actually pollute the environment such as nuclear power plants activity.
- Minimizes the production of new raw materials. When old materials have been used for upcycling the need for producing new raw good decreases. That may have a positive impact on the economy of a particular country as it will have to produce less of something not that useful. If this money is redirected to a more productive and smart manufacturing process the results is a more optimized circular economy.
- Deals with water pollution. Much of the water pollutants such as lithium, mercury and lead come from electronic waste leaks. Usually, that happens when there is a lot of WEEE waste at the landfill which stays there for too long. The emissions soak deeply into the soil and finally reach the groundwater. If adopted by most of the households, upcycling of electronics may greatly reduce the amount of electronic being disposed at the landfill.
- Protects the wildlife from pollution. The consequences of plastic pollution are now well known to all of us as a lot was written on that topic. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch swirls over 7 million tons of plastic which devastates the marine life. Upcycling with plastic may greatly reduce the amount of plastic rubbish that gets in the ocean which will surely save thousands of marine animals’ lives.
- Educates people and helps them live a more sustainable life. Throwing less doesn’t help only the environment. The harmful effects of the household waste at home is greatly reduced when trash is turned into treasure.
- Saves you a lot of money. Spending hundreds of dollars on buying things you can actually make yourself with upcycling is ridiculous. Furthermore, you’ll spend the equal amount of time for making a craft or visiting several stores until you find the right purchase.
- Gives inspiration to artists. Although the initial purpose of upcycling was to reduce costs it later evolved significantly and upcycling as art has now become a self-improving artistic field that transforms artists’ great ideas and imagination into masterpiece all of us admire at, especially the DIY enthusiasts.
How to Upcycle ?
The several ideas are suggested by the Rubbish Please staff which has a lot of experience in waste removal and recycling in London:
- Think about upcycling in advance. The upcycling idea must be in your head long before the actual implementation of the process. When buying mostly select things that are susceptible to transformations and will not harass you when it’s time for upcycling.
- Create an upcycling-check routine. Choose a certain period of time to look for any old or unusable items in your house, garage, shed or garden that can be upcycled.
- Use your imagination. Sometimes the genius idea are right in front of us, but we have to look at them from some other point of view. Use your creativity skills, because the upcycling is not just a process, it’s an art.
- Don’t be afraid from the creative reuse. Put all the different ideas together without any fear. Great ideas can result from unusual combinations.
- Make an online research about upcycling ideas and tips. Мost likely there already will be stuffed with guidelines on how to upcycle certain items. Check what you can find online to to simplify your transformation process.
- Upcycle now! After going through all the other steps now you’re ready to start the endeavour called upcycling. Put every theories to the test and start working on your own project.
- Enjoy and raise an awareness about the upcycling process. When you’re done, don’t forget to use the social media to share your work to the world. Tell others how much fun you had preparing and working on your project. Upcycling is an environmental concept that raises awareness of the value of objects and highlights the environmental consequences of waste and consumerism.