About Upcycling and Why it Matters


While many of us have been recycling household products by setting products in bins at the curb each week, only a handful of us have considered upcycling household items by bringing new life to old personal effects.

What exactly is upcycling you ask? Some call upcycling “salvage art”. Taking something that would otherwise be thrown out and making it into something better is basically all about upcycling. Reconstruction of an item by revamping it and creating a new product is one way to look at it. Heck, you can find an item in the dumpster and take it home and fix it up, that is also recycling. You could easily come up with a few considerations about upcycling, and personal upcycling ideas by doing so. But, think about it. How cool would it be to take an old sweater (that one you just don’t wear anymore, but have an attachment too) and create a pillow out of it buy upcycling the fabric?

Instead of dumping household products in the over crowded landfills we have created all over the planet, consider the alternative – upcycling. This eco-friendly concept has been utilized for years and tears and well years, but the importance of upcycling has taken the spotlight by a cool trend as well as the fact that our environment depends upon us doing our part to be eco-minded. So many people have come up with really cool upcycling ideas. Ask yourself what your ideas are.

For instance, taking the concept of reusable shopping bags into consideration, let’s look at reusable shopping bags. Yup, you buy these bags at the register that cost a buck right? You may even shop at the mall with reusable shopping bags, but what about making your own from old plastic bags or other upcycled materials? After all, the majority of those bags you purchase at the grocer are NOT made from recycled materials. Not to mention all the chemicals that are used to screen print their company logo and décor on them.

My interest was peaked recently when I was at a friend’s house and noticed she used old coffee tins to make flower pots. This is a great upclying example and after seeing those coffee tins my upcycling ideas became inspiring enough to bring this topic to our Save With Green Recycling Tips readers.

Giving new life to everyday household item that may be tossed into the landfill is a smart and even chic thing to do. Challenge yourself to take a few moments to audit your garbage and to find even one product that can be upcycled.

You don’t even have to be a crafty person to upcycle items around your home. There are quite a few online sites and blogs that address tips for upcycling and repurposing your everyday products.

Even if the material you are throwing away is going into a recycling bin, think about upcycling. The process of recycling or downcycling if you will, breaks down high-grade materials into lower-grade ones, by upcycling you take worn out materials and repurpose them into products of equal or bigger value. Upcycling has an added advantage over recycling or donating because both of those activities require energy usage. When you donate clothing, that clothing is transported to a distribution center and so on. Anything that requires that much transportation can potentially use up more fuel energy than it might be worth in the long run.

There are businesses that will upcycle your items for you. For example, you send the fabric or old clothing item to them, it is returned to you as a cool new household product such as a pillow or something else you want. But, like donating clothing, this requires energy too. I highly recommend checking out a upcycling blog or website to see how you can do it on your own. You will no doubt come across retailers on sites like Etsy that are actual upcycling companies. Again, that is great because the products are at least made exclusively from recycled materials, the upcycling ideas are innovative to say the least, but you wouldn’t send your materials to them and create the whole energy wasting issue.

Even if you repurpose around the house it is at the very least eco-friendly, but also a form of self-expression and creativity that is good for you. The next time you find yourself dragging the garage to the curb, think about upcycling. Be inspired.

Author: Ry