We live in a wasteful world, where we are happy to throw something away or recycle it, simply because its not in perfect condition or we no longer have a use for it. But more recently, as we have started to pay more attention to the environmental impact we are having on our beautiful world. People are starting to choose to upcycle, instead of recycle, and this is something we really do encourage.
But what is upcycling? And how do you do it? We’ll explain everything you need to know if this blog and give you some ideas as to how to get started.
What’s the difference between recycling and upcycling?
Recycling is the process of breaking a product down into its raw materials and reusing those raw materials to create something new. Recycling is always better than throwing something in the garbage, however, you can reduce our environmental impact even further by upcycling. In the upcycling process something old, that has been discarded, is turned into something new, it is reused and repurposed and given a new lease of life. The upcycled product will be worth more in value than it previously was, and it can be used.
If there is anything in your home that you are considering throwing away, ask yourself, an I upcycle this? I can reuse it for something else? You’d be surprised how many things you can upcycle around your home.
The easiest thing to upcycle in your home is furniture. Some furniture, especially old furniture, is built to last and most can be salvaged, given a new lease of life and reused, especially now the shabby chic feel is so popular. Usually all a piece of furniture needs is a fresh coat of paint, maybe some new handles, and if you’re really feeling extravagant, you could add a new lining to the drawers. There are lots of furniture upcycling ideas online.
Over the years we collect jewellery that has a lot of sentimental attachment to it. However, the style of the jewellery isn’t always what we like now and/or the jewellery was inherited or bought as a gift so was never really to our preference. The result is we don’t often wear that jewellery. Instead of letting that jewellery fester at the bottom of your jewellery box, why not upcycled the stones? Stones in jewellery can be upcycled too, especially diamonds which hold their value and are extremely hardy. This way you can keep the stone and the sentiment of the jewellery, but have it remade into the perfect jewellery for you. This is the perfect idea for any men thinking of proposing with a family heirloom. Any good jeweller will be able to help you turn a diamond from an old piece of jewellery, into the perfect engagement ring, and they can even help you choose the style of the engagement ring too.
Clothing, even clothing that is stained, torn and/or unwearable, can all be turned into something useful. You can cut up your old clothing into fabric, which you can then use to make things like face masks, cushion covers, bags, even hair accessories. With a bit of dye and some stitch work, you can really get creative.
Anything that is made of wood could potentially be used for something else, so never just throw it away. With a sander, a saw and some paint, you can turn wooden pallets into so many different pieces o furniture for the home or the garden.
Old containers (even containers you can’t find the lid to), can be repurposed as planters, just add soil! You can use them to grow flowers, herbs and even vegetables. Lots of other things can be used as planters too, such as boots and wellies, old tyres ad even drawers.
Books, Maps and Sheet Music
Let’s face it, maps are pretty much a thing of the past and although lots of people do still read physical books and have books with sheet music, lots of people are now turning to storing these things digitally, so what do we do with our old maps, books and sheet music? We repurpose them and use them in our upcycling. You can make wall art, you can cover furniture, you can make photo frames or an interesting bouquet. There are lots of ways you can use them, so never throw them away.
There are lots and lots of ways that you can upcycle, create unique features for your home and help the environment all at the same time, so why not give it a go? If you’re anything like us, you’re going to love creating something beautiful and useful, out of something other people think of as rubbish. And who knows, maybe you’ll inspire other people to start upcycling to.
Unique Upcycling Ideas to Try at Home is a feature post