Welcome to Zero Waste Week 2017 day 3. Upping the ante on upcycling

Today’s topic is all about upcycling.

According to Wikipedia, upcycling – also known as creative reuse – is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
Simple ideas for upcycling include taking an empty cereal box and shaping it into magazine storage. Or keeping those old worn out tyres and stacking them up to use as a potato planter. (I’m aware some people don’t like to do this, due to concerns about tyres leaching nasties into the food – so discard this idea if you feel that way). And who hasn’t heard of patchwork quilting or rag rug making or better still, turning old Christmas cards into next year’s gift tags!?

It seems clear then, that upcycling is only limited by your imagination.

And it’s a growing movement, as any browse through Pinterest will prove!

Whether you’re handy with a needle a thread, a whizz with power tools or great at thinking outside the box, upcycling is something everyone can get involved with.

I have to admit for me, upcycling tends to stop at taking unwanted letters and turning them into notebooks for all my scribbles for me. But on researching this topic I became more and more inspired by people’s creativity.

As a starter for ten, here are some of the ideas I came across; just to whet your appetite before you race off for today’s challenge which is to get stuck into an upcycling project of your own:

Upcycle bright magazine paper into beads or envelopes

Make a beer bottle into a candle


Turn old maps or sheet music into framed art

Turn an old wine bottle into a lamp base


Give an old vinyl record a new lease of life as a clock

Make a rag rug


Turn an old cd / dvd / gaming disc into a clock



Keep twine and string organised in old dvd cases


Think about the kitchen too – could you ‘upcycle’ your food peelings into stock or the vegetable pulp from your juicer into other dishes to increase the fibre and nutrition?

And if you’re stuck for inspiration, I have two Pinterest boards you might be interested in, here and here. Between them, these boards have over 300 pins full of ideas!

Let me know what you’re going to do today!

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Rachelle Strauss

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