The Art of Upcycling

Green living includes reducing, reusing, and recycling. Don’t forget the fourth ‘r’ – repurposing. Repurposing, also known as upcycling, is a means of taking something old and making it new again by turning it into something else.

The term was first coined in the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. The authors claimed upcycling maintains or improves the quality of material.

Many of us upcycle out of necessity when we need something in a pinch, but can’t seem to find it.  For instance, we wrap gifts in newspaper or turn an old jar into a cup. But as our awareness to take responsibility for the earth heightens, upcycling turns from a trend to a way of life.

In fact, one company in Phoenix, AZ, started designing and building prefabricated living spaces out of old shipping containers. Upcycle Living isn’t your average pre-fab home manufacture. These trendy, chic living and workspaces are not only green, but also quite spectacular.

Upcycle Living Phoenix

A home addition created from upcycled materials (Upcycle Living, AZ)

We are such huge fans of upcycling and encourage you to find new purposed for the old things around your home. Check out some of our favorite upcycled items found around the web:

cup and saucer upcycle

Cup and saucer turned bird feeder and bath

water bottle into newspaper holder

Water bottles turned magazine rack

old tshirts turned dish towels

Old t-shirts turned into crocheted dish clothes

toilet paper rolls turned into seedling

Toilet paper rolls turned into seed garden

tea boxes turned herb garden

Tea boxes turned into a window garden

shoe box turned into cell phone holder

Shoe box turned into charging station for electronics

mason jar turned soap dispenser

Mason jar turned into a soap dispenser

can lanterns

Old cans turned into lanterns

ladders turned bookshelf

Two ladders become one bookshelf

old hats turn into lamps

Vintage hats turned into lighting

dresser doll house

An old dresser turned into a doll house

If you are looking for a little upcycling inspiration, take a peek at Upcycle Magazine.

The Big Question:
What are ways that you repurpose items around your home?

© LesserEvil 2019