Upcycle Your Perspective On Sustainability
Everything has a purpose, even things most people would consider trash. Broken furniture can become your next statement piece and old jars and bottles can be transformed into unique light fixtures. Even a piece of driftwood can find a use in your home as a coat hanger or an end table. Although many people have heard of recycling and the environmental benefits that come with it, not many are as aware of its cousin, upcycling. In our pursuit to make our personal lives, businesses, and world cleaner and less wasteful, here’s one more sustainability practice to get behind.
What Is Upcycling?
The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” truly applies to upcycling more than anything else. Upcycling is when you take a discarded item or material and turn it into something even better. This practice has been around for awhile now, rising and falling in popularity in developed countries based on economic factors and the scarcity of resources.
For developing countries, upcycling isn’t a trend but a necessity for people to make what little possessions they have stretch as far as they can go. Nothing goes to waste and things are only thrown away when it cannot be reused anymore. Currently, the thrift and DIY lifestyle is back in prominence to the point where many retail stores are trying to emulate the upcycle aesthetic with the products they sell.
After all, why have an ordinary lamp when you can have one made out of a wine bottle or some other interesting material? However, instead of spending money on that piece to give your home some character, why not skip the trip to the trash and make it yourself? When you take a good look around, you’ll discover there isn’t much you can’t make with the materials at your disposal.
Why We Should Upcycle
Although upcycling may not get as much hype as recycling, we should definitely consider implementing this sustainable practice more often. First off, it does wonders for the environment since the “trash” that would have gone into a landfill is now finding a purpose in your or someone else’s life. Trash also has a way of traveling out of landfills and into natural resources like rivers and oceans, where it can cause pollution and harm wildlife. By reducing the amount of waste you produce, the planet will thank you for more reasons than one. Also, upcycling is a fun way to live a greener life while making some money on the side.
Depending on how good you are at repurposing things, you can bring in decent earnings by turning your upcycling hobby into a social venture. Upcycling can help relieve stress as well by having you focus your mind and body on a creative task. Plus, you can involve family and friends to work on a project with you, cultivating quality time while gaining some extra hands on some of the bigger upcycle projects.
There’s truly no end to what you can upcycle. With a little ingenuity and some effort, anything can be made into a masterpiece. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Trash: Anything that’s destined for the trash: bottles, crates, cans, cardboard boxes, and a plethora of other items can all be repurposed into useful and aesthetically pleasing pieces of decor. You would be amazed at what you can make with what you throw away on a regular basis. So instead of tossing the before-mentioned items and other refuse in the garbage or recycling bin, take a few minutes and see if you can turn it into something amazing instead.
Clothing: Many of us have clothing in our closet that has seen better days. Instead of discarding your threadbare wardrobe, though, turn it into something else. Old sweaters can become new beanies or mittens and jeans can become your go-to handbag. The great thing about clothing is how versatile the fabric can be. All it takes is a little imagination and some sewing skills to give a hole-ridden favorite a longer shelf life.
House: If you really want to invest in this sustainable practice, consider taking a second look in your house. Bigger furniture like tables and sofas can be transformed into rustic bathroom vanities and or even a swing set. If your mattress isn’t in donatable condition, you can repurpose it into a new couch or use the springs to make a garden trellis or unique wine rack.
Upcycling is all about taking the things people reject and making something better out of it. The repurposing possibilities are truly endless when you put your mind to it. It just goes to show that all it takes is a shift in perspective and a little elbow grease to make trash into environment-friendly treasure.
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