Why you should reduce, re-use, and upcycle


Why you should reduce, re-use, and upcycle

Guess who’s back, back again? It’s Nike, back to talk to us about something a bit different. Last time she talked to us about the importance of representation and empowerment. Now she’s here to talk about the environment...

I am a big fan of the environment, so much so I spent three long years studying it. And during this time what did I discover? I found that causing environmental harm is completely unavoidable if you want to live a normal life. It’s a sad fact, but it’s the truth. But don’t be discouraged. While the experts work on a solution, we can continue to take control of our impact by engaging in sustainable behaviours, like eating less meat and recycling, for example.

The recycling myth

Recycling is often marketed as a way to re-use objects that would otherwise end up in a landfill. For some materials, like glass and metal, this is true. We can recycle them time and time again and continue to make new things as they don’t lose quality during the recycling process.

But for other materials, the number of times we can recycle them is limited. Plastic lasts around 7-9 cycles and paper just 4-6. After this, their quality is too poor for further use and they lose all value. So it‘s off to the landfill they go, or sadly, the oceans.

Did someone say upcycling?

But did you know, more and more people are finding ways to re-use and recycle while increasing the value of the end product? It’s called upcycling, and it’s the physical manifestation of the saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. You take old junk that would otherwise go to landfill and turn it into something fantastic.

If you’re like me, and love to hate finding yourself in a daytime-TV-induced coma, it’s time to watch ‘Find It, Fix It, Flog It’. I have never before been so excited to watch two men rifle through strangers’ garbage. It shows upcycling at its best. But, if you really don’t like daytime TV, and you’re not just pretending because you don’t want people to know you love Antiques Roadshow, then take a trip to YouTube, or the many upcycling blogs online. You’ll be blown away by what people have created through upcycling used-to-be junk. It combines resourcefulness, creativity, artistry, and business into one amazing hobby that benefits the planet.

The possibilities

During my upcycling content binges, I’ve seen old rusty milk churns, that cost nothing, turned into bar stools worth over £100 each. I’ve seen a piano collected from the tip turned into a garden fountain worth hundreds of pounds. There have been vinyl records reshaped and cut into groovy clocks selling at £50 a piece, retro TVs turned into fish tanks, car bonnets turned into bars and settees, and I’ve even learnt that you can add a bulb to pretty much anything, call it a lamp, and someone will pay you for it.

There’s a party at the bins and everyone’s invited

What’s excellent about upcycling is it’s open to everyone. You don’t need huge amounts of money to start and there’s no guest list at the skip saying who can and can‘t rummage for hidden treasures (something I now call ‘racooning’ to make myself feel better when I do it). Depending on what you make you might need a few tools, but you can upcycle with even the most basic second-hand tools until you save enough for specialist equipment. Tasks might take longer but just make sure to say ‘hand-crafted’ in your Etsy title and you’ll be fine.

Also, learning to upcycle is not the challenge it once was. Online, there are incredibly skilled experts producing unique, engaging, and original content about metalsmithing, jewellery making, and carpentry - everything you need to know. And around these sites is a growing community of upcyclers sharing ideas and having a blast.

When it comes to sustainability, upcycling takes care of it all - environmental, economic, and social sustainability. You help the environment, make money, and become a part of a community founded on learning new skills.

If you’re looking to learn new skills when it comes to content, get in touch with Coster Content on 0161 413 8418 today. With Coster Content, you can learn everything you need to know about how to captivate your audience through the written word. Or, if you’d rather let us worry about your content, we would be more than happy to write it for you.

Alia Coster