The Importance of Up-cycling

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Humans are the only creatures on the planet that create waste that doesn’t naturally biodegrade. The by-products from other creatures are a part of natural cycles and often will function as food or shelter for other organisms. But us humans? We have broken the loop. We create waste….often very toxic waste…..that will remain on the earth anywhere from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of years in landfill, or worse yet in our lakes and oceans and natural spaces. We are a wasteful society. But we don’t have to be. We are creative beings that can do better!

One positive change we can make is through ‘up-cycling’. Up-cycling is the process of converting useless products into new materials or products of higher quality.

As an up-cycler, myself, I am always trying to re-imagine how something can be transformed or used in different ways. And when I can, I will inject new life into old things. Lurking in garages and sheds and cupboards all over the world are dusty, unused items which are no longer loved. Some of these things are even still in great condition. An old couch or a discarded sewing machine, might be just the thing that someone else is looking for. So, instead of throwing it away, if you can, give it away! And even those things that are in less than ideal condition might still be very usable by someone like me. There are also many organizations that will take your used items and sell them for you. Please take advantage them. 🙂

It makes sense to reuse in this way, especially considering that the energy which goes into making new ‘stuff’ is significant.

It breaks my heart when I hear people say things like, “Oh. It’s too bad I didn’t see your work sooner because I just threw out all of our old silver.” Like, seriously……Threw out!!? It might take a little more time and effort to find a home for your unloved items, but I urge you…..please don’t throw things away unless they are truly no longer usable.

And, if you’re making a choice to live differently, why not shop differently, too? It’s a great idea to start asking where your purchases are made and shopping at stores which support a more sustainable way of living. There are also a large number of charity and thrift stores that exist right across the country. And the bonus is……Old stuff has more soul!

In order to stay in love with our things it’s important to either change or adapt our thinking and ask, “Does this item have long term durability and recyclability?” And to re-love our stuff we must learn to change our perspective and reimagine it.

We are all born creative – and the ability to heal the planet lies in all of our hands.

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