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Week 18: #Waves4Change 2020 Sustainability Challenge: Upcycle!

Why Take This Challenge?

Upcycling, or creative reuse, is a creative way to reuse and repurpose something to extend its value and life cycle. Taking an older item that may show some wear and tear and redesigning it to serve a better and more beautiful purpose is the best part of upcycling.

Upcycling is not like recycling. While recycling takes items and breaks them down into raw parts to be made into something new, upcycling takes that item and creates something of higher quality.

Maybe more recently than ever before, upcycling is something you may have accidentally stumbled upon. With months at home, you’ve likely gone through items you forgot you had or decided you really didn’t like the color of that bookshelf anymore. Maybe you unintentionally started a collection of really cool bottles and now need something to do with them. But your options to replace these items are more challenging during this time and maybe you’ve even realized that you don’t want to throw out so much stuff anymore (you’ve been reading our blogs!).

Revive those items and let your creative juices flow!

How Does This Challenge Benefit Me?

  1. Upcycling reminds us that not everything is useless once its initial purpose is achieved. You have an opportunity to recognize this and partake in it.
  2. It allows you to evaluate why you have an item and what purpose was intended for it, but also how it can be reused.
  3. Upcycling gives you space to be creative and make something unique
  4. Feel like you aren’t creative or don’t want to upcycle? Many organizations will take your items and upcycle them.
  5. You are preventing more items from ending up in the landfill, curbing the effects of
  6. Have any children in your life? This is a great space to allow them to be creative to build and create something. It also teaches them how to be less wasteful.
  7. Upcycling is a great way to keep items we don’t want to get rid of, but aren’t sure what to do with. If anything holds sentimental value for you, but it’s not living up its purpose, upcycle it!

What If I Already Did This?

Post about your upcycled items! Let others see that incredible effort and creativity you put into reviving something. Although you may have run out of furniture bits to paint, there is always something else that could use a little more love.

If you are all set with your own items, offer your guidance and abilities to a friend, neighbor, family member.

Check out organizations in your community that support upcycling. They often have programming that will teach you how and what to upcycle and provide you with materials to aid in your project, like the Upcycle Parts Shop, in Cleveland, OH.

Look to the internet for ideas! No one said you have to invent something. Luckily for us, people have been upcycling for a long time, so it’s useful to look to others for tips and tricks.

Prep This Weekend for a More Sustainable Week

Continue to go through your home and make note of items that aren’t being useful. Research ways to redesign them or reach out to neighbors to see if they have a use for them. Talk to others about upcycling and brainstorm and create together.

Photo by: Samantha Musser, 2019