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How to Get Started in the Upcycle Movement

picture of a person creating koozies for containers from lost socks

Upcycling is the ultimate way to show love to our planet by reducing waste. Don’t worry if you don’t have the time to make a grand masterpiece out of your old stuff. We’ve got you covered with these simple upcycling ideas that require little to no effort.

Simple Upcycling Projects:

jars being reused as candle votives outside
  • Transform big bath towels into small rags for cleaning.
  • Turn lost socks into drink koozies
  • Turn chipped or stained coffee mugs into quirky planters for your herbs.
  • Small glass jars with the labels removed can be turned into gorgeous candle votives.
  • Reuse mint containers for storing small objects such as bobby pins or safety pins.
  • Refill parmesan cheese containers and creamer bottles with cooking ingredients bought in bulk for easy access.
  • Jazz up your large plastic or tin coffee container with some paint and use it to store rice, flour, or sugar on your countertop.
  • Label your cords and chargers with bread tags by writing on them with a permanent marker.
  • Turn mesh produce or onion bags into dish scrubbers by folding them up and tying them in the middle with a string.
  • Reuse cereal liner bags as frosting piping bags for your baked goods.
  • Use the tops of tissue boxes or other small boxes as drawer dividers for small objects.

Intermediate Upcycling Projects:

pots and pans as planters

Give junk a second life with these nifty upcycling projects! You don’t need to be a crafting expert, just round up your supplies and let’s get creative! Not only will you reduce waste but you’ll also have a blast!

Advanced Upcycling as Art:

When creating art, there are endless possibilities. We often think of traditional materials like painting on a canvas, but more and more artists are turning to untraditional materials in their art. A new movement has taken shape that uses garbage repurposed into a plethora of artistic materials and décor. Let’s take a look at 3 artists turning trash into treasure, quite literally!

Tim Noble and Sue Webster based in London who create shadow art from trash sculptures. The famous sculpture “Dirty White Trash (With Gulls)” consists of 6 months of the artists’ trash sculpted to create a shadow of two people sitting back to back.

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Sayaka Ganz uses reclaimed plastic and metal objects to create elaborate sculptures. She notes, “I believe the best way for artists to help reduce waste is to show how beautiful these materials can be, and what can be done with these mundane objects and materials.”

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Bernard Pras creates the illusion of a painting by utilizing the colors of discarded objects to create his own renditions of famous artworks, pop culture items, film stills, and more.

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These examples of art are the ultimate form of upcycling. These artists take garbage and spin it into glittering gold!


Next time you’re about to toss something out, think twice and see if it can be upcycled. It’s a small, simple step to reducing waste and extending the life of your belongings. Upcycling is a fun an creative way to reduce waste and avoid having to buy new things. It’s also a planet-friendly move that can shrink your carbon footprint. So, let’s get crafty and give our world a high-five! Are you feeling inspired yet to turn your trash into treasure?