How green is upcycling?

Upcycled plastic water bottles by Gülnur Özdağlar

Upcycling is the art of turning trash into useful things or crafts that are, at least theoretically, a step up from what they used to be. It’s promoted as a thrifty and green activity because it keeps things out of landfills. The results certainly can be stunning, as this jaw-droppingly cool bowl made from plastic water bottles shows.

But what about when the results aren’t stunning, or even useful? When the upcycled version still looks like, well, trash?

Call me a snob, but I appreciate good design, aesthetics, and skill. If it’s a mug, it should lean into the curve of my hand like a friendly cat soliciting a pet. If it’s a chair, it should feel as good to sit in as it looks unoccupied. I’m attracted to things that combine form and function, and as a potter, I can make some of my own.  What I can’t make, I’m happy to buy used or from other craftsmen.

All of which means that the average upcycled tin can pencil holder isn’t going to cut it for me. For one thing, I already have a pen holder. It’s ceramic and made by a skilled Japanese potter. I don’t need another one. For another, I don’t have the patience or time to learn how to create something really cool from waste materials, which leaves me with the so-called quick and easy (read: crappy) projects: jewelry made out of CDs, pop-cap bracelets, plastic bag headbands.  Scrolling down this list of upcycling ideas reminded me of the crafts pages in the Highlights magazines of my childhood — the kind of things my parents would coo over and then secretly toss out when I’d forgotten about them.

I worry, too, that upcycling trash also creates less recyclable items. That’s nice that you were able to turn toilet paper towel tubes into napkin holders with beaming cherubs on them, but you used a lot of fairly toxic gold paint to do so. When you’re done with them, you won’t be able to recycle them anymore. (Why not just fold napkins into pretty shapes?) How long will you want to have your upcycled things around? Is upcycling just a way to delay the landfill?

Maybe. For some things, definitely. The garden variety of upcycling usually depends on our failure to reduce. Instead of upcycling our paper towel rolls, we could simply use cloth towels.  Instead of making things out of soda pop tabs, we could not drink soda. Upcycling often reuses materials that we didn’t need to use in the first place. And while I admire the spirit behind it — and recognize that there are a whole lot of waste materials lying around already — I wonder about its effectiveness in lowering impact.

Time is also a resource. In fact, it’s a completely non-renewable one, so we should use it as wisely as we do our other resources. It’s one thing if you enjoy crafting, or if you can make something beautiful or necessary out of waste materials. But if you upcycle to be green, reducing the amount of waste materials that come into your life is probably going to make the bigger difference.

Do you upcycle? I’d love to hear your thoughts on upcycling and reducing impact.

40 responses to this post.

  1. You’re totally right – reducing what comes into your home is the first step. Next is upcycling, especially if you like crafting. Upcycled crafts really depends on your taste – I love the funky put-together look of an upcycled tin can decorated with scrap materials. I also love knowing that it’s made from waste products, and I would never paint it with toxic gold glue. But that’s just me. Some others may not think so deeply of their upcycled crafts, and maybe that’s where the trouble is – being absolutely conscious of what you’re doing. Don’t do it because “upcycled” is hip, do it because you don’t want to use anything new.


    • Hi Lynn,
      I was slightly worried the title of the post would offend you. Thanks for not taking it personally! 🙂 I agree that personal taste makes a huge difference in how attractive upcycling is. My friend is making a skirt out of donated ties at the moment, and as cool as that sounds, I would never wear something that colorful or eclectic. (I am just coming out of a phase in which I wore black with some other color every day.)

      Without wanting to discourage the idea of upcycling altogether, I think it would be great if people considered the full impact of their upcycling activities. (Or any activity, for that matter!)


  2. Jennifer,

    You raise some excellent points in this article. I applaud people for using their ingenuity and creativity when it comes to upcycling. But the key point you underline in this article and throughout your blog is acting consciously. Personally, I find the whole idea of using a handbag crocheted out of plastic bags or the like very creepy. I think it’s best to reduce the use of unnecessary stuff in the first place and appreciate the suggestions you offer here. For example, I’m slowly trying to reduce the use of paper towels and use cloth ones more often.

    You also make an excellent point about how precious time is. We’re conditioned in modern culture to stay busy, when in fact most of us could benefit from nourishing ourselves with more space.


    • Hi Sandra!
      I confess I felt a shudder of revulsion when I saw one upcycling idea: making a purse out of an old bra. Oh dear. I’d like to think that there is room for beauty in sustainability, and I’m not sure upcycling is always the answer. Good for you for continuing to reduce the things you use. (If it helps, I haven’t totally gone off paper towels, either. I keep one [recycled] roll on hand for cat vomit or the occasional other extremely messy and unpleasant task.) It’s an interesting challenge of its own to see how many disposables we can cut out of our lives. I’ve recently discovered that the only way to persuade myself to use a tea ball (rather than tea bags) is to make sure I don’t have any other options. The business of re-educating myself is turning out to be a long one. 🙂

      And yes, absolutely agree with you about the space. Not only do our houses not need more knick knacks, but we also don’t need more ways to fill up our available time. I doubt being frantically busy does any of us favors. I’ve read projections about zero growth economies, and I have to say, they sound rather relaxing.


  3. Posted by Karen on 04/18/2011 at 10:58

    You are so right about this issue and as a captain of team on etsy, I have such issues with some members who make “eco-friendly” stuff that I personally wouldn’t consider sustainable. (they were admitted to the team before my time. Now we moderate new members.) Yes, it’s just delaying its landfill demise. Without pointing out specific crafts, I also think upcycling something perfectly fine is a shame. If it could have been used by another person by donating it Goodwill, that is so much more sustainable than upcycling it to make something totally useless.

    When I used to buy plastic bottles years ago, I recycled the bottles but kept the unrecyclable caps. I did upcycle them to something really functional and I still use them, three years later. As a handmade crafter, I wouldn’t make anything to sell that is not sustainable, even if I’m upcycling an existing material. It’s not worth the energy used if the end product becomes non-recycable garbage. That defeats the purpose.


    • Hi Karen,
      Thank you for adding your perspective! As EcoEtsy team captain, I’m sure you see a lot more upcycling (good and bad) than I do. You also have more influence over it. I’m glad you’re out there keeping green upcyclers honest. 🙂 Your point about upcycling perfectly good things into less usable (and sometimes less attractive) ones is well made. I wonder if a lot of people get so into crafting that they’ve lost sight of the principles behind upcycling.

      I’m curious about your bottlecap project. What did you do with them? I used to be a plastic water bottle user, too (I know! Less than three years ago, too), but my recycling accepted both parts of the bottle.


  4. Posted by Karen on 04/18/2011 at 14:28

    Here is the tutorial on what I did with all non-recyclable plastic parts..I still have these and I still use them now.


  5. Posted by Lane' on 04/18/2011 at 15:28

    I don’t think that upcycling/reusing is for everyone – heck, I post my weekly “Trash-to-Treasure” and even I wouldn’t upcycle a majority of those things – because I don’t NEED them. My thing is that you need to find a balance between recycling and reusing and hoarding. I DO think it’s great when someone can take something that would otherwise be recycled and turn it into something useful and something they would have otherwise purchased. What a lot of people may (or may not) realize is an items complete lifecycle — the total “cost” of the materials extraction, production, transportation, etc. So, recycling is great, but there’s a reason it’s 3rd on the list after reuse (and yet composting isn’t a part of the triangle at all).

    Do I think bags made from old capri sun juice containers are tacky? Yes, I think it’s just another marketing ploy on the manufacturer and I’d never own one. Would I reuse toilet paper rolls for a child’s craft project? Most definitely, why not? But, I do think it’s great that people are getting creative and coming up with great ideas. Better yet, let’s just rethink our purchasing!


    • Hi Lane’,
      I am so with you on the rethinking our purchasing part. If it never comes into our lives, we don’t have to deal with disposing of it. Upcycling is one way to deal with the end product, but it often seems to involve other resources, which puts it far behind reusing and reducing on my list. Depending on the outcome, I might also put it behind recycling. However, crafting out of waste materials is definitely better than using new ones, especially if it turns out to be something you need.

      I think one reason I don’t personally upcycle is because I already have an outlet for creativity. Sadly, it’s not particularly green (kilns eat up energy like there’s no tomorrow), but clay is so gorgeously tactile and sensuous and plays such a role in my enjoyment of life that it’s one of the things I’m willing to compromise on. (Also, I’m getting better, so more of my things are meeting the useful AND beautiful requirement!)


      • Posted by Lane' on 04/18/2011 at 16:18

        I agree to a certain extent… if you already have said materials on hand (such as glue, tape, etc.) for a crafting or DIY project, I believe it’s better to use it up than dispose of it (even disposing of it safely). But, to purchase something just for the sake of making an upcycled craft kind of defeats the purpose.

        On the flip side of that, if making something out of an item that would have otherwise been recycled or worse yet landfilled, brings happiness to someone – especially someone who is not necessarily eco-minded, then great! I’m all for bringing awareness to reuse projects when someone may have not otherwise thought of it. I have a lot of friends who don’t recycle at ALL, but love to craft and would welcome an upcycled gift or craft idea (I know it sounds strange). If this one small thing influences them, then great!


        • Hi Lane’,
          Aha! Subversive gift giving is a good strategy to increase awareness and nudge towards change. I went through a phase in which everyone I knew who was remotely open to the idea was given a specially chosen or made reusable bag. If they were people who always forgot their bags in the car, I made sure to get them purse-sized ones. If they complained that reusable bags were ugly, I made them bags with designs I knew they would like. I love the idea that we all belong to several different communities, many of them not necessarily green, and can effect change among those very disparate sets of people.


  6. Posted by Amy on 04/18/2011 at 22:00

    Hey Jennifer!

    You definately make some really interesting and important points. I agree that taking trash and turning it into tacky “new trash” is a little ridiculous, but I definately see merit in some “upcycling”. Not to mention that to some people it’s more of a hobby. As someone who works a full time job at a hospital, it’s nice to come home to a hobby that is totally unrelated to my job, get enjoyment out of it, and still feel like i’m doing a tiny part to keep something out of the landfill. For some of us, making huge environmental changes like switching to a solar/geothermal/hydro power source, or buying
    all new energy efficient appliances isn’t feasible
    for a variety of reasons, so doing small things is the only way that at this time we can make even the smallest positive impact. So while I agree with a lot of your thinking, I can see the upside to upcycling as well 😉


    • Hi Amy,
      I didn’t mean to imply that upcycling was worthless — only that making crappy things out of crap that are destined for the landfill probably isn’t the best use of resources or time. I’m all for hobbies that bring satisfaction without having a major footprint. I wish mine didn’t.

      Little steps are good, but even within those, I think it’s helpful to be conscious about reducing your impact. That idea seems to get lost in the ‘buying green’ frenzy, and maybe just a little in upcycling.


  7. This post cracked me up. I have definitely shared some ideas about turning old stuff into new on my site, but frankly most of it makes me cringe. My readers seem to love it though. As a ‘green parent’ one of the things that gets to me most is junk modelling. Geesh, parents think it’s the answer to everything but actually you end up with a pile of crap that has to be landfilled because you’ve joined recyclable materials together with non and now none of it can be recycled. I was horrified when our local authority held a recycling workshop for kids and it involved ‘weaving’ carrier bags to make a mat with old straws and other crap. The overall effect was hideous and I just ended up with a pile of poop to get rid of. So sure, make greetings cards from scraps and send them to me but I will kill anyone who tries to give me a coaster made out of a cd 😀


    • Hi Mrs. Green,
      Upcycling is definitely not exempt from other crafts in its potential for tackiness! I can name the number of upcycled things I really loved on one hand: Livia Firth’s dress made from 11 vintage silk dresses, the cool plastic bowls I featured, and…uh…hold that thought.

      I wonder if thinking more about what and how we craft — and its eventual disposal — will help us avoid the traps of junk modeling and CD coasters.


  8. I totally get what you’re saying. Upcycling is supposed to turn an item that is no longer usable into a different item that is at least as useful as the original. But so often, as you pointed out, the upcycled item doesn’t really do much of anything. That was never the point of upcycling.

    I wish we could remember not only what the 3Rs stand for, but that the recycling is a last resort – which makes upcycling fall somewhere between reusing and recycling.

    Re: loose leaf tea, if you do a taste test with bagged and loose tea, you won’t want to go back. I’ve heard that some of the content of bagged tea is what they swept up off the floor, including shredded pieces of twigs! Loose tea is almost always of a higher quality, and you can tell when you drink it. In Toronto, there are tons and tons of new tea shops opening up for businesses, so I never go thirsty. 😉


    • Posted by Lane' on 04/19/2011 at 09:02

      WOW! I never knew that about bagged tea! That’s pretty icky!


    • Hi Andrea,
      I did not know that about bagged tea. I drink my tea the British way — strong and with a dash of milk — so perhaps the taste difference isn’t so obvious. I have noticed that filling up just half my tea ball produces a very strong cup! There are lots of places around me to get loose tea, so it’s just a matter of not going back to buying tea bags…even when they’re on sale. There do seem to be a few specialty types of tea that I can’t get loose, so I may make the occasional exception for them. Also, did you know that there’s a craft that folds tea bag tags? My eyebrows went up at that one.

      I’m with you on your thoughts about upcycling. There’s a difference between producing a beautiful or useful upcycled object and one that’s got landfill written all over it.


  9. I agree that the focus should be on reducing, than re-using,and last recycle.
    I too don’t like upcycled objects that are plain ugly, and as you said often you cannot even recycle the final project…and as Sandra pointed out, time is vital and non-renewable so…I stick with reducing 🙂


    • Hi Cristina,
      I think we share an appreciation for beauty and tastefulness (maybe that would be enough to be considered snobby!). Upcycling doesn’t preclude either of those things, but neither does it focus on them. I’ve always admired good craftsmanship — the polished beauty of a burl bowl, the liquid sinuousness of glass work — and I know it’s possible with upcycled crafting. I just don’t see it all that often, and I hate to fill my space with anything less.

      By the way, I want to share one of my favorite ceramics artists with you. I met her at a show, seriously thought about buying a piece, and then decided I needed a place that would do it justice first.


  10. Ha! You were so tactful in writing this post. I often see websites with instructions on making all sorts of arts and crafts crap that nobody needs and think, WTF?!? Why is anybody wasting time, energy, glue, paint, air, etc on this junk.

    That being said, I’m all about re-using and re-purposing old junk for things that are actually useful. I like to say that I inhabit the murky space between minimalist and junk hoarder. Translation: I have a really hard time throwing out things that might be useful. My garage is packed with old scrap lumber that other people tossed out in the garbage, and my house is largely furnished with a late 20th century garage sale theme. I have napkins, rugs, slip covers, quilts, window shades and many other things made from old clothes, sheets, towels, etc. that were stained, torn or otherwise beyond use for their original purpose. My garden is a total kluge consisting of rocks, cinder blocks, and bricks salvaged from the alley, with vegetable plots and trellises made from scrap lumber and metal.

    I guess I just think there’s a difference between using what some people would consider to be garbage to make things that truly are useful, and creating something of dubious usefulness and value just so you can say that you’re “up-cycling”.


    • Hi EcoCatLady!
      There’s a definite difference between useful upcycled things and non. My has hoarding tendencies (there’s a post about this somewhere on the blog), which makes me more likely to throw things out than hang on to them as he does. There are at least two Commodore computers gathering dust in the garage, and decks of old computer magazines from the 80s on up. I don’t see a problem in keeping things you’re likely to reuse as long as you have the space. I know I should put more energy into reusing what I already have, and less into fretting that it doesn’t meet my aesthetic sensibilities!


  11. For me, upcycling is 100% about function. I couldn’t care less about glitter paint and I also don’t have many design expectations. I find function beautiful. I’m more likely to use that tin cup as a cup, not a pencil holder. When I upcycle, it’s to turn used plastic bottles into planters for my seed starts, or an old door into a solar heater.

    That said, upcycled art absolutely does have its place. If people are going to make tacky crafts and useless tchotchkes anyway, why not use upcycled materials?


    • Hi Jessica,
      I’m not very good at appreciating function without form. If it works, but it’s ugly, I’ll always look for a more aesthetically pleasing alternative. I’m sure that makes me more wasteful in some ways. In my defense, I am very picky about what I find beautiful and don’t end up acquiring much stuff just because so little of it passes muster. I’d like to think that if all of our buying decisions were made carefully, thoughtfully, and with attention to usefulness and/or beauty, we’d be a healthier and wiser society.

      Tacky upcycled crafts are better than tacky non-upcycled crafts, but I still don’t think either are a good use of resources. Then again, I’m not really a crafter and don’t quite understand the appeal of the activity itself, which may well bring some people pleasure and enjoyment.


      • Amen! Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate good design too. You’re right that beauty and design have a place and can make us enjoy our possessions more. And of course beautiful craft or art projects have a place too, whether they’re upcycled or not.

        Personally, I think upcycling is better than recycling and second only to reuse 🙂


    • Posted by annoyed on 07/06/2013 at 00:18

      Totally agree. I’m all about functionality. And we upcycle in our massive garden daily.


  12. Posted by Kris on 04/29/2011 at 10:19

    I’m with you on the whole upcycle thing. First I do think we need to focus more about the waste we bring into our homes. But second, most of the things that you see people making with the waist items are not things that I enjoy or would fit with me. I think it’s great for those who like what is created and I have seen some beautiful items. But for me, it’s mostly not my cup of tea. I’m gong to stick with trying to bring the items into my house in the first place.


    • Posted by annoyed on 07/06/2013 at 00:15

      Such a nice way to state the same thing that was posted in this rude blog.


  13. When I do arts projects (generally reuse-themed) with kids I get my material from scrapstores. They collect and redistribute what would otherwise be landfilled by industry. Generally they have an eclectic mix of stuff there which includes all basic craft essentials.

    Some of what is made in my workshops is crap because it is made by children. Their work would have a crappy aspect whether made from new materials or reused materials. The difference being that when I do a waste workshop with them I am also introducing new ideas about reducing consumption and reusing materials. Can we calculate the value of introducing a new idea?

    Though I am not a hoarder, I prefer to reuse something a million times or return it to a scrapstore, rather than recycle it, as it cuts out an additional industrial process, for the time being at least…

    That said, what I do is pretty niche and its more about educating and inspiring young people to waste less than it is an attempt to turn them into upclycing junkies.


    • Hi Joddle,
      I’m not dismissing all upcycling as pointless crap (and certainly the educational aspect could mean something to kids), but I also don’t see it an uncomplicatedly green activity, either. If people have the urge to make crappy crafts, by all means, they should be encouraged to use reused or recycled materials…but wouldn’t we be making more of a difference by reducing what we bring in to the house in the first place, or pressuring corporations to use less packaging or produce more permanent products?


  14. Yes I agree about reduce foremost.

    However, you will not easily get access to a group of kids at a school or community centre if you just go there and tell them to consume less. Making stuff with them is a vehicle to introduce new ideas and different outlooks (I work in Southwark and Hackney in London and kids tend to be aware of recycling but not the rest of the triangle).

    I don’t call it upcycling as that implies that you are making something better out of other things. I agree that very few things are ever truly upcycled in the made better sense.

    Really, what I do is put waste and scrap materials to use in an arts project. Sometimes it isn’t green: we were mural painting this weekend with Community RePaint paint. What I always do is use otherwise unwanted things.

    What I do is not an implicitly green activity. My green ethos is to waste less and inspire others to do the same for environmental, economical, even humanitarian reasons.

    But then I’m not sure that recycling is an implicitly green activity either – with its heavy industry and growing workforce. By shopping carefully I am able to avoid producing that much recyclable waste in the first place.


  15. Posted by Cassandra Snyder on 03/15/2012 at 18:44

    Recycling in general creates more pollution anyway and of course uses so much energy so who cares if someone is humble enough to wear a capri sun bag or pop tops jewelry. I have yet to create something from them…btw. I guess beause i grew up not being able to throw away a cottage cheese container and used it as ‘tupperware’ or to scoop water in the bath. Mole containers also made nice glasssware in Mexican home! So…someone somewhere will make sure it’s not in a landfill and appreciate an item more as a bag than an emtpy juice container…


  16. Posted by RIta on 06/07/2012 at 13:48

    As a long time antique dealer who has managed many an estate liquidation, it is clear to me that there are more coffee mugs, dining chairs, and framed “art” in existence today than we will likely need for a decade or so….so if being green is what you really care about we should discourage art schools teaching pottery, craft schools teaching furniture design and construction, and kindergartens sending kids home with any more crayon drawings. Silliness. The impulse to create is innate, and it is much less damaging to the environment to follow the impulse to paint toilet paper rolls then it is to have a hobby like snowmobiling, or even hiking (driving to those trail heads). We all need “hobbies” – and this one is a good one compared to most. Upcycling is a non-issue as far as its “negative impact” compared to the very crafts you yourself engage in — why waste the electricity that went into this blog post (and time) trying to make it one. Let them create and pinterest about it. It’s harmless.


    • Hi Rita,

      I agree that upcycling is pretty minor on the list of impactful things we do and that creative outlets matter! I just shudder a bit at some of the ‘upcycled’ things that take functional objects and make them uglier or less functional. I also think the emphasis should be on reducing the tremendous quantities of stuff we take into our lives that needs to be thrown away, recycled, or upcycled. In your line of work, you would probably know more about that than I do.


    • Posted by annoyed on 07/06/2013 at 00:11

      I LOVE YOU!


  17. Posted by Krystal Fuer on 09/17/2012 at 17:08

    Its funny for me to see this article because upcycling is a new concept to me (sort of!) I’ve done it and not even realized! I am a crafter, and I love to take “unsalvagable” clothing and tear it apart cover it up and put it back toether. Also, as a mother and nanny, I never need to purchase crafting supplies! Just making stuff to feel better about my waste though??? Not so much. Great read, thank you!


  18. Posted by annoyed on 07/06/2013 at 00:08

    Okay.. Snob. (You told me to, right?)

    If you aren’t looking for a pencil holder, don’t do that craft. What did that even have to do with anything?? You just wanted the opportunity to brag about the one you have being made by some awesome Japanese pottery genius?

    #1 – Citing and linking to a post on a website that a PERSON (whom you don’t know from Adam) created, using their TIME and ENERGY – complete with links and descriptions for one HUNDRED craft ideas – is BEYOND RUDE. This person posted the list in an attempt to HELP do their part to save our planet. They didn’t have to, but they did it to spread awareness through suggesting ways to use trash or unwanted items instead of putting them in a can to await their turn to clutter up a landfill for 5, 10, 20 years or forever. Not only THIS person, but the other 100 people you put down with your flippant comment regarding their efforts. Why couldn’t you just generalize without targeting a specific website? The fact that these 101 people’s feelings didn’t even come into play while you sat – nose in the air, on that high horse of your’s – in judgement of them makes you SEEM like a self-involved, snarky BRAT at best. At worst (if you DID think of their feelings), you’re a &!+¢# – no “seem” about it. Your post leads me to wonder if you were one of those SNOBBY girls growing up that made other kids’ whole school career hell by putting down every aspect of their attire and supplies because it wasn’t what YOU would have CHOSE to wear or use, without a split second’s thought as to whether they even HAD a choice or if they may not be as priveleged as your spoiled @$$.

    #2 – I don’t know who told you that painted paper cannot be recyled, but they were misinformed and I’m very excited to tell you that it CAN be! So, how about you quit picking apart other people’s crafty creations and do a little research before broadcasting incorrect information.

    #3 – Who’s to say the napkin holders will ever need to be thrown away? Just because your parents didn’t appreciate the art YOU made as a kid, it doesn’t mean that everything everybody makes will get tossed. And, even if it does eventually get thrown away, sometimes all you CAN do is “delay”. If the person enjoyed the time – which is THEIR “resource” – THEY spent, than more power to them. When they want to make a craft (especially if, to you, its junk that’ll eventually go to the landfill either way) isn’t it better to at least TRY to use what they already have around rather than buying new stuff which is increasing “waste materials”.

    #4 – “..not drink soda.” What?! Obviously people aren’t drinking soda for the sole purpose of upcycling the stupid tab. They already consume soda, so they’re just finding ways to creatively use what they already have. Just because YOU don’t think soda is something that we “didn’t need to use in the first place”, doesn’t mean everyone feels that way. And the cans are 100% recycleable anyway, so it really lends nothing to your concerns . And, if you’re so worried that upcycling “creates less recycleable items”, advocating for drinking less soda is kinda dumb.

    #5 – “..unless you can make something beautiful or necessary..” Who are you to say what is or isn’t beautiful or necessary? You can, and should, decide that for yourself; but, putting others down for what they see as beautiful or feel is necessary makes you seem pretty pretentious.

    #6 – Is putting down and bossing around others really a “wise” way to spend the completely non-renewable resource that is time?

    #7 – You suck. That is all.

    Oh, and P.S.. how does it feel to have your post picked apart? Maybe I should blog this with a link to you.


  19. Posted by Marissa on 03/07/2017 at 23:29

    I really like the points you bring up in this post, especially when you talk about using more resources (such as glue) to upcycle products. I am currently doing an ethics project which involves upcycling. I think it’s also really important that you pointed out the fact that we should seriously be reducing our consumption of new materials in the first place (such as paper towels). We live in such a consumerist society that it’s quite pathetic.
    However, I really wanted to point out that upcycling truly is better than buying something completely new, even if it’s a decoration that may be thrown away years down the road. If I really wanted a new art piece to put on my wall, but didn’t want to buy something completely new that has been made from resources fresh from the factory, then I could certainly consider making something from waste products (even if it involves glue) because that is still preventing an even more environmentally-impacting product from coming into demand! I understand that my example was about something that we could arguable say that we don’t need to buy in the first place, but let’s admit that all of us would want a few new pieces here and there to decorate our living spaces.
    I suppose what I am trying to say with this response is that upcycling is entirely better than buying new items, considering that we are thoughtful of resources we use to upcycle the product and the products we are using to upcycle.
    Thanks again for you post. I think it makes us more aware of the fact that we should try and prevent trash from coming into our homes in the first place!
    For those of you who see this and want to help the environment by upcycling (but don’t have the time to do so), then I highly recommend this website I just found!


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