Down with waste – upcycle instead!

Upcycling is the act of repurposing old or discarded objects and materials into something useful — and often beautiful. It’s different from recycling in that recycling breaks down materials so they can be remade into a new product, often of lesser quality. Upcycling refashions materials into something of the same quality or better.

Upcycling makes a positive impact on the environment by removing (“rescuing”) items from the dump. It’s also greener than recycling because it doesn’t require the energy or water used to break down materials at recycling plants.

You can upcycle just about anything: wine bottles, cans, newspapers, milk cartons, tires, suitcases, jeans, material scraps – you name it. If you no longer have a use for it, upcycle it!

Here are a few upcycling ideas you can try at home:

Down with waste – upcycle instead!

Mason Jar Pendant Light

Mason jars seem to turn up everywhere – the attic, the garage, the back of your pantry, etc. If you find you have a few extra containers hanging around, turn them into charming light fixtures. It’s easier than you think! This will require a light kit, but you probably already have the other materials in your tool kit.

Down with waste – upcycle instead!

Custom Basket Liner

Do you have any scrap material that you can’t bear to throw out because you love the color or the quality of the fabric? Why not convert it into custom basket liners? Some sewing skills and tools are required, but this tutorial will take you through the directions step-by-step and show you how to combine more than one piece of fabric per liner.

Glass Jar Office Storage

Do you have a desk drawer of small odds and ends that are simply adding to the clutter of your office space? Grab a few glass jars out of the recycling bin and convert them into stylish office organization. No major tools needed — just your usual craft supplies.

Down with waste – upcycle instead!

Colander Planter

Sometimes colanders can get rusty and chipped and people aren’t sure what to do with them. Before you throw it out or toss it in the Goodwill pile, consider converting it to a hanging planter. It doesn’t take much work and is a simple way to add a bit of pretty greenery to your home.

Feeling inspired to see what you can do with items taking up space in your garage or recycling bin? We’d love to see what kinds of creations you come up with — and feel free to stop by the Reunion Coffee House for a little caffeinated inspiration before you tackle your upcycling projects.