What Is Upcycling?

The reduction of waste is an important goal that's shared by anyone who wants to help preserve the environment. Unfortunately, when the items that people use on a daily basis, such as glass jars, jeans, furniture, and tires, are no longer useful, they are typically thrown away. These are the items that ultimately fill up landfills and can damage the environment. While recycling is one alternative solution to throwing items in the garbage, it isn't the only option available. A fun and increasingly popular option is a process called upcycling. When a person upcycles old or undesired goods, they turn them into new and useful items that serve a different purpose. With imagination and the right know-how, nearly anyone can help the environment by upcycling.

Different Ways to Upcycle

There are many different ways to upcycle depending on the object in question. A wine bottle, for example, can be painted or decorated and used as a vase for flowers or to hold vinegar or oil. Hang glass canning jars from hooks and place tea lights inside to create simple outdoor lanterns, or punch holes or designs into painted tin cans to create festive luminaries that can light up a front or backyard. Window shutters or an old door can be painted and used to create a unique headboard or table top. Other ways to upcycle goods include turning old-fashioned door knockers or silverware into handles for kitchen or bathroom cabinets and transforming baby cribs, suitcases, or old dresser drawers into bedding for one's pet. Even items such as cardboard boxes and tissue boxes can be upcycled. Adding a liner and wrapping twine or jute around cardboard boxes can turn them into attractive storage baskets, while an empty tissue box can be turned into a useful desktop caddy.

How Upcycling Positively Impacts the Environment

Because upcycling prevents materials from going to landfills, it saves valuable landfill space while also reducing the risk of toxic gases and other pollutants entering the atmosphere or poisoning the soil. People's unwanted items often end up in rivers and oceans as well, and upcycling can keep these materials from harming fish and other aquatic life. Certain items can be turned into clothing, handbags, or even jewelry. As a result, no manufacturing-related pollution is produced, no additional energy is wasted, and no new materials are consumed.

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