Forget Recycle: it’s Time to Up-Cycle!

We all know what recycling is.  It’s all about throwing out the things that we don’t want in a sensible way so that the energy used to create it in the first place isn’t lost.  Maybe it is going to be made into a similar item.  Maybe it is going to be made into something different.  Or maybe we just take it down the charity shop to be bought by someone else.

Or perhaps we are really enviro friendly and actually buy from the charity shop.

Whatever we decide, most of us are interested in either saving money (just look at the number of home accounting softwarepackages available for evidence of that!) or being a better world citizen.

But here’s the rub. I still see thousands of items of so –called junk being off loaded when it just isn’t necessary. Look, I know that that we are living in a world where our technology is getting better almost by the day, and we are always looking for upgrades in this or that, but we are suffering at our own consumerist hands! We just don’t need to keep throwing out or, I think worse, upgrading to the latest, best or most fashionable.

A new approach

There is a growing movement now that instead of even recycling, we are up-cycling. Upcycling is where you take your own old stuff, and revamp it. Perhaps you could take some old scarves and sew them together to make a bedspread. Or repaint some old chairs? My grandmother used to use a phrase of ‘make do and mend,’ and although at times you really do need to throw some old things out because it’s the holes that are holding it together (if you get my meaning) there are times when we can make use of what we already have.

Upcycle today...this is how

So what about this summer? What can you do right now? Well apart from upcycling old dining room chairs that are cluttering up the garage or garden shed into sleek garden chairs just with a touch of bright paint, you could look at your clothes. Jeans more precisely.

If you are anything like me, then you have pairs of jeans in your wardrobe that have seen better days, and it’s not so much of a designer hole in the knee as a gaping hole of Calcutta. And you are thinking of throwing them out.

Don’t!

Instead, upcycle by turning them into cut-downs. For the gents, a light beach comber look is sufficient by lightly fraying the ends. Make sure that they are below the knee if possible (usually just cut off at the hole is sufficient!). For the ladies, add some patches from old summer dresses that have seen better days, as well as ribbon, lace or leather trim, and a wide belt. Perhaps a lightweight full blouse on top – the blouse can be tucked in or out, worn with a belt to cinch it into the waist.

About Andrew Gee

Real name: Andrew Gray! Andrew enjoys road bike cycling, hanging out with his family and writing. His real job is a secret because it's far too much fun, but is quite happy to admit that he makes additional income from selling his own artwork and writing.  Environmental concerns are important to him, and he is always nagging the family about waste and how they should be turning the lights off more.  He regularly talks to school-kids about how they can get involved in being planet-warriors.

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