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Let’s start upcycling

By Samantha Goff
Tribune Sentinel Staff

If you ever keep things that you could just throw away because you know there just has to be a use for it, this article is for you. If you throw everything away you “don’t need,” this is for you too.
I’ve preached about the importance of recycling, but did you know there is even more you can do?
I have seen people recreate their trash in clever ways, and  I have always thought it was kind of cool. This week however, I was so intrigued by a horse statue made completely of tire scraps, that I decided to look further into this new trend of upcycling, and I am so glad that I did.
There is a whole world of clever people doing some of the coolest things with the everyday trash items. Furniture, art, and even organizational tools can all be made from upcycled materials.
Aside from how unique and fun upcycling can be, it actually is better for our environment than just recycling.
Although recycling saves precious resources and reuses them and transforms them into something new, it still requires a lot of energy to complete the process.  When recycling plastics, the combined materials actually weaken the final product, and that material most likely cannot be recycled again.
Recycling is better than throwing things away and just wasting their potential to become something more. But upcycling transforms things into something more for you personally, and can even be fun and entertaining!
Take an old wire hanger, cut it just right, bend the wires out, paint it and add a cute bow or beads and you have yourself a  super-cute flip flop hanger!
Save up your bottle caps and recreate them into a really cool wind chime!
The options are endless. Once I started exploring, I wanted to start recreating everything and my imagination went wild. There is so much you can do with “trash.”
So this week I might be converting my tic-tac container into a ribbon dispenser, and I might even save some of our tin cans to paint and glue them together for use as a custom wine rack. I am happy to learn new ways to be green and eco-friendly, and excited that it really is just that easy.
The sky is the limit when it comes to upcycling, and the world wide web is your guide to the thousands of fun and interesting ways to transform your trash.