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#Reuse #Sustainable Home #Sustainable Lifestyle #terminology #upcycle


Alidia Vane

“Upcycling” is the process of modifying old products to give them a new life. Unlike recycling, which involves breaking materials down to create new products, upcycling involves creatively reusing old products to give them new life, while maintaining their basic form. This strategy not only diverts waste from landfills, but also reduces demand for new products and materials, making it a great way to reduce your environmental footprint.

For example, the fashion industry is a huge contributor to emissions and pollution. To reduce the impact of this sector, textiles and fabric can be reused. On an individual scale, by learning just a few basic skills, you can turn old clothes into new and unique items. For example, you could turn a few old t-shirts into a unique quilt. On a larger scale, sustainably-minded clothing brands (such as Patagonia) can apply the concept of upcycling by dissembling their old textiles to be reused in a new product.

If you’re interested in beginning upcycling, here are a few quick tips to get started:

  1. Start with What You Have: Before buying new items, look around to see what you already have that can be repurposed. You may be surprised by what you find! For example, with a quick coat of paint, an old stool may become a new focal point for your room.
  2. Learn Basic Skills: Skills like sewing, woodworking, and painting can be helpful for upcycling projects. There are countless tutorials available online, or you could look for a local workshop or community group to learn alongside others.
  3. Start Small: It’s a good idea to start with small projects to build your confidence and skills. As you progress, you’ll tackle more complex projects. For example, you may want to sew a small pillowcase before starting a whole quilt.

On top of its environmental benefits, upcycling is also a highly creative endeavor. It can be fun to dream up potential uses for old items, and it’s always rewarding to see them given new life. In addition, upcycling can help save you money, since instead of buying a new item, you’re using items you already have (plus, depending on the project, a few supplies). The next time you go to buy something new, give upcycling a try!

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