The environmental benefits of upcycling are mammoth; aside from minimizing the volume of discarded materials and waste being sent to landfill each year, it also reduces the need for production using new or raw materials, which means a reduction in air pollution, water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and often conservation of global resources.
Upcycling—repurposing an unwanted item. Also known as creative or reuse, transforms by-products, waste materials, useless or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or better environmental value. Sadly, many good-quality things still end up in landfills. Whether it’s perfectly usable furniture, electronics, or clothing, it’s a sad sight to see valuable materials and resources going to waste. It requires a bit of creativity, but it can be great fun creating something new out of something old, and there is lots of inspiration and ideas online.
Upcycling is about adding value to an object, whether financial, visual, or emotional, but above all, it’s about adding design. Design can be a slight change of color, sanding it back, or ultimately converting it into something else and repurposing it.
Are you sitting on the fence when it comes to upcycling? Here are some reasons to start upcycling and repurposing items.
You Save Money, It’s Fun, and Uses You Creative Juices
There is, of course, plenty of budget-friendly furniture available online and at the stores; however, if you already have an old chest of drawers or stool sitting in the garage, why spend money on a new one? I have always enjoyed the hunt, looking at garage sales and thrift shops for those items I wanted to upcycle.
Are you concerned about the cost of tools? Tools are much more affordable than they used to be, and I think everyone should have a toolbox at home anyway to repair things. I once again look for any valuable items at garage sales, but if you have to buy them know you own them, they’re yours, and you have them there for your following projects. By the time you’ve upcycled a couple of pieces, they have quickly paid for themselves.
You Can Use Your imagination
Rather than buying uniform furniture designed by someone else, upcycling means you can create your very own personalized pieces that suit your tastes and your needs. It adds charm; it’s a conversation starter, you saved some money, and now you know you can do it again. Before you throw away that old bedside table or chest of drawers, think about whether you could give it a new lease of life. Older furniture has character and was built to last, so it’s a shame to condemn it to the landfill. Why not invest in some chalk paint to give it a shabby chic feel? You can try changing the handles and lining the drawers, too, to create your unique piece. There are so many great ideas online to take inspiration from.
Environmental Benefits of Upcycling
Upcycling existing resources means that we don’t have to use any new raw materials in the production process. Our planet is already running dangerously low on natural resources, so it’s a massive help to the environment when people use old items to create nothingness. Upcycling reduces the amount of waste that is dumped in landfills. Some waste materials contain dangerous chemicals, which can cause soil degradation. If these chemicals find their way to water bodies, they cause water pollution. A landfill that is full of waste is an eyesore.
Apart from land and water pollution, solid waste can also cause air pollution. During the process of decomposition, a foul smell may begin to emanate from the solid waste. While burning may seem to be the best alternative for managing waste, it may end up causing further pollution as some gases produced during combustion end up causing air pollution. Upcycling provides an environment-friendly alternative to dealing with such waste.
Whether you’re upcycling things yourself or buying products from designers, it’s always nice to know that you have something unique. It just means more when you take the time and effort to reuse and redesign items to keep them out of the landfills.One Person can make a difference Developing the routine of upcycling, recycling and purchasing recycled products ramps up demand for more recycled products, hence, minimizing waste and improving the economy. Most American companies rely largely on recycling programs to supply the required materials for their recycled products. In fact, according to statistics, the recycling industry is raking in over $100 billion in revenue each year. Averagely, every American produces about 1600 pounds of waste every year. Up to 1100 pounds of waste can be recycled every year per person. That represents a half a ton per individual. This means a family of four can minimize waste by more than two tons each year just by the easy task of recycling.