Up Cycling And Making Use Of What You Have

Up Cycling And Making Use Of What You Have

Up Cycling is where instead of recycling you keep the item and turn it into something else. If something can not be recycled and is heading to landfill – or maybe it is something that is difficult to recycle. Making it into something else or finding another purpose for it will give it another life. I’ve sectioned this up into the following categories.

• Broken items
• Unused items
• Pre loved items
• Turning recycling into products

Up Cycling

Up Cycling sounds like something you would watch on Blue Peter rather than something you would do to lower your carbon footprint. Was carbon footprint even a term we understood back in the Blue Peter days?
Up Cycling is not just for the crafty types or for the people saving clutter until they ‘need’ it one day. Yep thats me, craftily hiding clutter for that time when I will make use of it. I’m really not good at throwing things away – the good news is that because we don’t bring much packaging or new stuff into the house the things we have kept over the years are now getting used and our level of stuff is dropping fairly steadily now.
Many people have too much stuff and I am one of those people but having not regularly purchased new items for maybe nearly 5 years now, finally my items are wearing out, being used or as a last resort being sent to the skip. Our skip is branded as a recycling centre and there is only one or two large skips for landfill the rest does appear to be categories that could be recycled, like metal or glass. This is a good option because when you put out landfill rubbish that is where it goes, when you take those same items to a more industrially geared up ‘skip’ it gets used. 
You will notice throughout my posts I reference black bag rubbish as landfill – I think it is important to call it that to continue to bring awareness to that where it is going. If you think of it as a different type of rubbish, that gets collected and the nice people collecting the bins take care of it then our mindset regarding rubbish will be forever rose tinted.

Broken Items

I’m a fixer, I like to mend things. Which is one option but finding all the pieces can be challenging. If it can not be fixed, can it be repurposed? Some items will fix really well with good old fashioned super glue, especially if there has been clean break. We have mugs, plates and the odd other item we’ve mended and they live on. Some breaks don’t even notice now.

The picture shows one of our old mugs repurposed as a plant pot.

Next time you break something – give it a go. You might surprise yourself at actually how good you are at mending things or finding another use for them.

Unused Items

We all have items that are sitting in our homes unused. These items are not serving any purpose, they sit there taking up space. We don’t want to get rid of them and if we do where do they go? The recycling , the charity, the compost? Are they too good for any of that? It’s too hard to decide so we just stick it back in the cupboard or drawer until next time we decide to ‘declutter’

Could we make use of them though – could we reuse them?

I asked around for some examples of reusing and got some great pics back from some of our readers.

Sarah Silva (Expert German to English Translator) and Vicky Fraser (Writer and Team Moxie Extraordinaire) sent some over some examples. 

The office chair Sarah gave a new life to is a perfect example of upcycling and reusing. The elephant fabric was a scarf and the chair was threadbare, so two items have been given a new lease of life in one hit.

Vickys collection is also creative and makes for a quirky look. I love the marmalade tin and the gold syrup tins. How many of us have at some point actually bought a container to store our pens and utensils in. They were sitting there in the cupboard all along, we didn’t need to buy anything. I love the cat too, would be a crime to throw that away. All of these items were packaging for the goods that came in them. When buying gifts for people getting something that also has packaging that is worth keeping is a good idea.

Pre Loved Items

I’m hopeless in this category so my advice is not going to be based on experience. Truth is I have loads of things I once loved, that I don’t wear that I still have. My best strategy is just to work on reducing this collection or simply find a way to wear them and integrate them with my current wardrobe. I did give some of my most worn items to my niece Molly a few years ago. Items I’ve worn and worn and lived in but ones I just hadn’t worn for a while. I gave them away whilst they were still looking okay. That feels quite good giving something you love to someone you love. Whether they get worn or not is up to her but I feel I’ve passed a bit of myself on.

Sarah skirt is a good example of how to do turn something once loved into something new. I’ve got a pile of clothes for this very purpose but keep reclaiming them for my wardrobe. I’m not very good at committing my favourite clothing to scissors. I think perhaps I need to try this with items I’m not fussed about first.

But if you are ready to turn that favourite item into something that will live on then this is an excellent option, no landfill required.

Turning Recycling Into Products

Yep this does sound a bit weird. But what I mean is, there are items you throw away that could become useful in your home. We’ve already had a great example from Vicky reusing her tins.

There are other items you can put to good use to before you put them out onto the pavement.

Here are a few and their potential uses.

Baked bean tins – plant pots, storage for pens. Remember to drill a hole in the bottom if using for a plant and if you do that, you’ll need a saucer of some kind. Tea light holders. We drilled holes in some in the shape of a heart for our wedding. They looked quite good.

Plastic pots with lids such as soft cheese containers – we haven’t bought any for a while but some of the ones we did buy we washed out and use for smaller items in places like the kitchen drawer of doom, where random objects go to die. Or in the office for memory sticks, they stack well too.

Loo Rolls – can be used as kindle for a log burner or made into small pots to plant your seeds in. You can then plant them straight out into a bigger pot or the garden in the tube because it will bio-degrade.

Paper- sheets with a blank back can be used as notepaper, it can then either be used for a log burner or to add break down layers to a compost.

Jars – we’ve got waaay too many jars but you can reuse them. We use some small ones for glasses, larger ones for flowers and anything in between for our zero waste shopping trips. Bon Maman jars make good ‘cups’ and stack well in the cupboard too. Vicky also sent in a pic of her daffs looking lovely in a jar saved from the recycling.

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