Why You Should Upcycle and Not Recycle

Adding a new look and sprucing up your home shouldn’t cost the earth. Have you heard of the term upcycle? It’s fashionable, fun, cheap, but best of all, upcycling is green. Reusing things in your home that would normally head to the bin or the bottle bank lightens the load on the earth’s resources – so if you can, you should!

However, upcycling isn’t just about recycling, it’s about trying your hand at DIY projects, learning new skills and enabling boasting power at your next social gathering.

upcycle cans

Lead by Example

Teaching your kids to be eco-aware is important too – the best way that you can do this is, like most things, by example. When you upcycle, it helps teaches them to leave as little as possible negative impact on the world for the next generation. Once the whole family is in the habit of reducing their waste, it’s something that will stick for life.


Upcycle: it’s creative, and encourages everyone’s arty side! You don’t need to be an expert, or to have a Blue Peter badge. Upcycling projects are fun, everyone can get involved, and you never know, some of these projects may even lead to a second income…

Upcycle: How to Get Started

Stig of the Dumpupcycle old jars

Get used to scouring the local dump. If you keep your eyes peeled when it comes to house clearances, well-placed skips and town dumps you’ll soon find that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That old adage certainly rings true, so as well as upcycling your own unwanted or forgotten about items, you can add to your collection.

Before crawling around the dump, have a look around your home. Do you see any items that you could get creative with?

A Couple of Simple Ideas

See the light

We all drink wine and fling the bottle with a satisfying crash into the local bottle bank or green box. Some of us have more than our fair share! But, instead of filling the boot of the car on a monthly trip, save fuel and your time by investing in a glass cutter. With safety goggles and some care, slice the bottom of the bottle away (about 10cms); sand it smooth; thread an electrical cord through the neck, attach a light fitting and you’ll have yourself some funky new lamps.

upcycle plastic containersShower power

Hang on to that idea, we’re not finished yet. Slice some more wine bottle ‘rounds’, about 5cms thick from the ends of clear, blue and green bottles, and insert them into windows for an instant stained glass effect.

Building a new shower wall? Round off the edges and create a flowing sculptural shower wall. Then randomly add the coloured glass in, for a very Gaudi look to your new bathroom. It’ll be cheaper and far prettier than tiles, particularly when the morning sunlight streams through the glass – easy to clean too.

Not sure what tools you’ll need to get started with DIY? Check out our article 15 Tools You Must Have at Home. If you’d like to stay up-to-date with more home improvement advice, follow us on Twitter for daily updates!