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upcycling a vintage chair

Trash to Treasure: All About Upcycling

You’ve heard of recycling - the conversion of waste into reusable material. “Reduce, reuse, and recycle” is ingrained in us from a young age. And for a good reason!

Humans produce a ridiculous amount of waste, and a lot of this waste doesn’t exactly breakdown that fast. In fact, plastic takes 1000 years to decompose (yeah, we’re pretty much the worst and most wasteful animals on this planet).

But awareness is step 1 toward improving ourselves. The trend of upcycling is quickly becoming the new “it” thing to save our planet - or at least, contribute as much as one person can to reduce our impact on it. It’s all about mindfulness and creativity. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. And in the case of upcycling, it’s oh-so-true. Let me explain this one a little further.

What is Upcycling?

Upcycling is the process of transforming waste or unwanted materials into better quality and environmentally-friendly products. And okay - it sounds a little grimy at first.

But it’s the opposite of its cousin, downcycling. Downcycling converts these recycled materials into lesser quality products. Upcycling makes them better. So, upcycling might not sound so bad in comparison.

Plus, upcycling contributes to an array of cool products, art, and design items - think industrial lights or water taps. It can be a cheaper way to give your apartment or home a unique look and upgrade. And you can hire people to create these products for you - all from reusable materials. Or you can start your own art studio and begin the process of creating yourself.

What are the Benefits of Upcycling?

We’re glad you asked. Here are the top 5 benefits of upcycling:

1. It prevents our landfills from getting even more out of control.

Get this: Fire hoses, wine bottles, car pieces, and more are being used to create luxury designer items. It’s not only stopping these items from reaching our landfills (which let’s be honest, could use a little less - remember the plastic fact here). But it’s also creating something cool and exciting.

Need a little motivation to start a new art project or participate in more mindfulness-style activities? Upcycling is it. Get on that wave. It’s fun. It can spark creativity you didn’t even know you had. Plus, you get something useful out of it.

2. There are no natural resources required.

Bonus! Upcycling doesn’t take away from our already dwindling resources. Interestingly, one cotton shirt uses 2700 litres of cotton (yeah - what?). Considering we are already worried about the future natural resources, reusing items for upcycling and new items is a huge benefit.

3. Upcycling comes with fewer manufacture costs.

Another win. It doesn’t take as much to transform these items into usable new items. Old clothing can become rugs or curtains or decor. Wooden pallets can become beautiful and stylish pieces of furniture - with next to zero manufacturing costs.

Manufacturing often comes at an environmental price. With less manufacturing and just plain-old building and crafting, our planet gets that little additional boost.

4. You get one-of-a-kind items.

Tired of the same old? Want to set yourself apart from the rest? Upcycled items are it. You get original furniture, clothing, and other products. It’s also great for gifts.

5. You just feel good about it!

When you’re doing something good for the planet, you can go ahead and pat yourself on the back. Upcycling is part of that. Get on those good vibes. Become more mindful and go for it!

But Wait - How Do You Upcycle?

You want to get on that wellness lifestyle. You’re motivated. But where do you start?

With upcycling, there’s one rule: there are no rules. Your options are limitless.

But we’ll offer a little guidance. Follow these steps to get started:

  • Plan ahead. Get any equipment or items you need.
  • Be creative! A ladder might become something a vine can climb up. An old barrel or food container might offer up a great pot for plants. Think outside the box here.
  • Try shopping at garage sales or vintage markets. These places have great stuff that is perfect for upcycling. Or better yet, dig through your own storage unit. What haven’t you used and likely will never use again? Make it something new!
  • Try paint. Paint could be the difference between a run-down piece of furniture and a brand spanking new one.
  • Make mistakes. It’s fine. With upcycling, you can easily correct them or start over. That’s what it’s all about anyway.
  • And have fun! Take this time to yourself. Dive headfirst into the creative process.

Start Upcycling Today!

Get on that upcycle vibe! It’s part of a wellness lifestyle and could be exactly what you’re missing in your life. Plus, it’s all original. You’ll get one-of-a-kind pieces out of the process and feel good about it. Start today. Who knows what you’ll have created by tomorrow!

Related Article: How to Make the Most of Your Extended Weekend

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

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