I am sure if you saw the Great Pacific garbage patch, you would get an idea of the waste we throw out as a species. It is just one of the concentrations of plastic and waste debris out there. The lesser ones are all around us in our own neighborhoods. We always talk about recycling or reusing old stuff to protect the environment. It’s probably easier to send away stuff so that it gets recycled. It’s slightly more difficult to adapt a DIY approach and reuse old throwaways in a newer way. Well, that’s the difference between recycling and upcycling.
Upcycling is the process of turning old or discarded materials into something useful (and hopefully beautiful) instead of treating them as junk. As geeks, we have taken a look at 8 Creative Ideas To Recycle Your Mobile Phone Without Throwing It Out. Then again, Nancy wrote about ten more ideas to repurpose and reuse everyday objects for your geek lifestyle. Upcycling ideas are all around us. If you are short of inspiration, here are seven upcycling websites which can help to light the green spark.
Hipcycle is one of the leading online stores for upcycled wares. Hipcycle collects the products from its chain of global partners including individuals and showcases them on the site for sale. Every product on Hipcycle has the details of its source. From traffic lights repurposed as bird feeders to clipboards made out of circuit boards, the site is choc-a-bloc of ideas even if don’t want to spend a dime. One of the nicer features is that you can search for products by the materials used to make them.
The Hipcycle blog is another source for creative inspiration. Look for the how-to and DIY tags on the left to filter the respective posts and start your own upcycling journey. Not many tutorials there, but the blog in general is an idea hose.
Read about the 18-year old who built a submarine out of a drain pipe. Could that be the absolute acme of upcycling! That and much here, on this green blog which is all about innovation in technology and design. So, you have suitcases turned into bird shelters along with plans for a skydiving center made from shipping containers. If you are interested in sustainable design and what’s happening to all the waste that’s being produced, this blog does a pretty good job of giving you the latest news. The articles collated under upcycling are worth a read always.
Well, we have covered this well-know DIY site a few times at MakeUseOf.com. From DIY beer to upcycling in your garden and more, Instructables is a bounty of well-illustrated tutorials. You have to sift through the site to find the specific tutorial you are interested in. Rest assured that if you have thought of it, there’s more than a fair chance that a tutorial is there on it. For instance, you probably didn’t know that you could make pom-poms from old VHS tapes.
Get inspired through pictures. Recyclart is a visual journey in the manner of Pinterest. Clicking on the images takes you to the source site where the how-to is better explained. You can also contribute your own ideas or any link you might have come across. There are almost 190+ pages of ideas, so I am pretty sure you will not run out of inspiration.
Craftgawker is another upcycling aggregator along similar lines.
This is a very neat blog that’s focused on children, their toys, and handmade education projects for children. The projects on the site are organized around age. From a DIY fabric football to Wall Hanging Box Aquariums, the projects are do-able by kids and parents alike. It’s always better if parents also participate as Joel Henriques advocates in most of his tutorials. The site is a lot about crafts and toys, but you can use materials readily available around the house to make them.
Upcycle Magazine is all about project ideas, product reviews and interesting stories from all across the world of upcycling and recycling. The site is a professional effort. I was pulled into the site by a tutorial that showed how to make a Storm Trooper helmet with milk jugs. I never got to make it, but the idea was very appealing for a Star Wars fan like me. The one project I am working on right now is making a newspaper and magazine basket out of old newspapers.
If you are still short of inspiration, pick out some from these 100 upcycling ideas that anyone can do. It’s a great list and the links are sure to lead you to more DIY kicks. Then there’s Tumblr and Reddit to fill every corner of your life with upcycling ideas. Upcycling is thankfully catching on. So, there are a lot of good ideas out there. Maybe, you have some of them. Don’t waste it (pun intended)…pour it out in the comments. Planet Earth and all of us just might thank you for it.
Image Credit: Free Digital Photos