If you are a hoarder like me, who loves to collect waste materials in hopes of making something better out of it, you probably know what upcycling is. For those of you who don’t know, upcycling is the process of transforming waste materials, and useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality and environmental value. Simply put, it is the process of turning your trash into treasure.
The term ‘upcycling’ is time and again wrongly used synonymously with the term ‘recycling’. But, most recycling involves converting or extracting useful materials from a product and creating a different product or material, often degrading the original value and upcycling is just the opposite.
The ‘up’ in upcycling means that the end product will always have a higher value than the original product. You can upcycle liquor bottles into decorative vases, cardboard into organizing boxes, jam containers into spice storage, credit cards into guitar picks, and there are countless other ways to upcycle, you just have to be creative.
Upcycling comes with various benefits and these benefits are the reasons why all of us should practice upcycling.
Good for the environment
The most important reason why upcycling should be widely practiced is that it helps the environment. Many things that people throw away can be useful and upcycled. These wastes pile up in landfills. Some wastes have toxins and chemicals, which in turn is bad for the environment. Upcycling helps in reducing and eliminating those wastes as you are using those materials instead of throwing them away.
When you use waste materials to make a new product, you are also saving the new raw materials and the intensive energy that could have been used to manufacture the same product. With upcycling, lesser energy will be used with existing materials.
Upcycling helps you to boost your creativity. It can be challenging to think about the ways you could turn your waste materials or old products into something better. This challenge encourages you to think and makes you explore your creative side.
In the process of upcycling, along with your imagination and creativity, you may learn a skill or two. While making a new clothing item out of the old one, you learn to sew. While building a table out of old woods, you might pick up some woodworking skills. While you are turning a wine bottle into a decorative vase, you might learn to paint.
Since, you are making something on your own, it allows you to personalize it however you want to. Upcycled products are one-of-a-kind. Thus, upcycled products will always hold meaning for you.
Saves money and provides an opportunity to earn money
Upcycling provides you with a cheaper option. Fresh new products in the market are always expensive. If you make an upcycled product instead of buying a new one, you will be saving a good amount of money.
There are many small businesses that make upcycled products and sell them. If you are needing something but you have no resources to upcycle it from, you can also always choose to buy an upcycled product from local small businesses and support them. This will contribute to the local economy.
If you upcycle a product, but you have no use for it, you can sell it by listing it up in C2C e-commerce websites or by renting spaces in a flea market. Since, it will be cheaper and is promoting sustainability, a lot of people will be attracted to buy it.
Since, upcycling is important for you, the local economy, and the environment, we should practice upcycling and try to build a culture of this practice. So, the next time you throw something away, ask yourself if you can make something more valuable out of it.