It’s been drilled into our heads since early childhood: reduce, reuse, recycle. Yet, there is a fourth piece to the puzzle known as upcycling. With a bit of creativity, so many items that might end up in a landfill can be given a second life. This is typically gentler to your finances and to the planet.

“Upcycling is taking something that’s considered waste and repurposing it. The upcycled item often becomes more functional or beautiful than it previously was. That’s why it’s called upcycling, because the value of the item is increased!” defined on their “About Upcycling” page.

Upcycling is a bit of a different process than recycling. In a standard recycling process, items of the same basic material are broken down to be reused, such as paper, plastic or glass. Breaking down materials to combine them into new products is of course the goal, yet it does lessen the overall structural integrity of the materials.

Upcycling, on the other hand, looks at an item that might be wasted and reuses the material in a clever new manner, giving it a new or revitalized function. Anyone can upcycle in their own unique ways. Think of something you would like to use or something that you would like to have. If you have an item that you would like to use, there are lots of ideas out there for what to do with your raw material. If you have something you would like to have, you can also look at DIY ideas for a specific item, such as a lamp. If you have the materials already, then get creating! If not, you can probably find these materials for cheap at a thrift store and give the materials a new life that way.

Easy, Useful Upcycling Ideas

Have a blast and happy upcycling!


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Learning more about how to live a green life and make the world a better place with Life U’s Human Ecology program.