Upcycling, it’s like recycling really, you take something and either change it or use it as something else.  In our kitchen we have a table that is made of a joist and floorboards that were being thrown out of a renovation.  Our furniture is pretty much all second hand, we have a philosophy that if we are given something, next time we have something we don’t need we likewise give it away.  We use plastic bottles to plant, for our aquariums, to store water, for containing home made products for use.  Anything that can be recycled does to minimise waste.  We often make gifts instead of buying them, I learned how to knit, hubby and I learned how to carve, I’ve dabbled with glass painting and ow digital painting.  With the exception of my laptop, which I consider a valuable tool and I use, to death, literally, we always try to source our items second hand.  I tend to try and take care of what we do have so that the necessity to buy newer isn’t required.  There are times when I give in, I’m only human after all, but if I can get it for free or barter for it I will.  There are so many ways to reuse household items.  I reuse containers where I can, if they are seal-able they work for storage.  Tin cartons can be used for cooking.  This is a tip I learned from someone else, but leftover foil can be scrunched up and used as as a scourer.  Even our food waste is upcycled into compost in our compost bin in the garden, it cost £14 and we’ve had it going for 3 years now.  Unusual or pretty glass jars and bottles can either be glass painted or filled with home made preserves and chutneys, or bath salts etc and given as gifts.  Egg boxes can be used as mulch, or take them to one of the many trust boxes, where you leave your money and pick up a box of eggs, so they can reuse them (or maybe ask first).  Cardboard and newspaper can be used as mulch, just remove any staples or tape.  You don’t need to dig your garden to get rid of weeds, just put cardboard and/or paper over the top, cover it all and keep damp, it will eventually rot, you may need to do a little maintenance but it’s a good way to cover a large area.  Try to make sure it’s weighted down too so it doesn’t blow away, if you want an instant effect, put it down, wet it, put compost over the top.  Plants will break through wet cardboard without any problems and you can even plant on top of it, or through it like a week membrane.  If you have old clothes, take them to or arrange a clothes swap, get something you like for something you don’t anymore.  These are all things I do now and as I think of things I will add them.

  1. Really interesting article – and a great way to live. Are you familiar with the Yahoo Freegle Groups? I’m pretty sure that there will be one near you. I’ve given away a baby walker in the past to a good home and have also received (from a different member) a whole load of Russian books. The only rule is that no money changes hands 🙂

    • Yes, we use sites like that if we fail to find someone we know in need. 🙂

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