Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Up with Upcycling!

Today's Wonder of the World is...Upcycling!

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Are you familiar with the term upcycling? Just in case you don't, allow me to explain...
No, it's not a new workout machine at the gym.
Upcycling is the process of taking things that people throw away and making something new out of them. Hooray for keeping trash out of the landfills!

Since today is Earth Day, it's the perfect time to celebrate upcycling.
So I've browsed all over the shelves at Etsy (what I won't do for you people, ha ha,) and found some upcycled treasures to show you (like the magnet above.) I've linked the photos to the Etsy stores, so click away if you like. Or just revel in the creativity of the artists!

Before I start with the Etsy goodies, I thought I'd show you something I LOVE to save from the landfill...cigar boxes!

I don't do anything with them except use them for storage, so I guess that's recycling more than upcycling, but aren't they gorgeous?! The cigar store in town goes through tons of them.

Do you bring your own bag when you go shopping? I bought a few with good intentions, but I can't seem to remember to bring them with me.

If I had this upcycled rice bag, I bet I wouldn't leave it at home.

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Or this cool juice box bag.

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I also love these envelopes.

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They're made from magazine pages.

If you're a fan of the Peanuts comic strip, you might prefer these.

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My map-crazy husband would choose these

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but he'd probably unfold them and try to figure out where in the world they're from.

Want something cool to mail in those envelopes? How about a pendant made from a scrabble piece?

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Or a letter written from paper torn out of this hilarious notebook!

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Etsy is full of notebooks with recycled covers.

This upcycled record purse is fun.

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Or how about a hat upcycled from a sweater?

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I also love upcycled creatures.
Like my kitchen pal from

and this artist angel from Jeanette Janson,

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and last but not least, this flowery elephant.

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Cute, huh?

I know you all give a hoot! Do you upcycle too? I'd love to hear how you reuse, reduce, recycle!
Have a wonder-full Earth Day, y'all!

Love, Becky


JaxPop said...

Romeo Y Julieta cigars mmmm... one of my favorite brands.

Jojo said...

Please downcycle over to my blog and pick up an award that you can share with others.

T. Anne said...

OK those are very cool!

Kelly H-Y said...

Happy Earth Day!! I had no idea it was called 'upcycling' ... I jus thought it was recycling! Love all the things I learn on your blog! It's always a big accomplishment for us to remember to BRING the reusable bags into the store as well! We're getting better! Too funny!

LW said...

Happy Earth day!
Thank you for all the etsy links. I adore the Jell-o notebooks and tin whistles…
I use to forget my reusable bag as well, but now I just keep it in my car so it is always with me when I stop
at the store.
A few weeks ago I saw a woman pack up her groceries in about eight canvas bags, I was impressed until I saw that one bag was filled with boughten plastic garbage bags of all sizes, from small to large…
I deemed it a wash…


Donna said...

I DO try to remember to take my bags to the store! Most of the time I remember!hahaa...hughugs

adrienne said...

I've been seeing these purses made from candy wrappers that I love! They remind me of the gum wrapper chains we used to make.
I'm also trying to remember to bring all those shopping bags I bought...

Sherry said...

Some great finds there. I love that elephant.
I am familiar with the practice of reusing and finding alternate uses for items but had not heard the term "upcycling." I like it!

Notre Vie Juteuse said...

Rebecca - you lived in france and you don't take your own bags to the grocery store? shame on you. Right now go get them and put them in the back of your car.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

A swell post for today! I love the upcycled scrabble tile necklaces--have given several as gifts!

May Vanderbilt said...

I consider myself pretty crunchy and I've never heard of upcycling. You are so plugged in, lady!

And I LOVE that video you linked to. Creative people are so inspiring.

Rosemary said...

Very cool stuff Rebecca!

Leah Skaggs said...

I want to collect the scrabble tiles like a lonely old lady collects cats. Unfortunately I noticed there was a baker's dozen deal going at the etsy sight... might have to raid the piggy bank. I guess it's still upcycling even if you are hoarding them- right? Happy Earth day!

lotusgirl said...

I never knew what that was called but I like that kind of stuff. A friend of mine makes purses and stuff out of the poptops of cans. They are really cool. It's kind of like chainmail.

Susan Tuttle said...

Interesting -- it looks like I have been an upcycler since birth, without even knowing it:)

you learn something new every day.


Fete et Fleur said...

I love the cigar boxes! They do make perfect storage boxes.


Randy and Linda said...

Hi Rebecca - just passing by your blog which I have been missing.... I like the concept of Upcycling, its about like getting free art supplies! About the grocery bags, they compress down to the volume of a garden pea. The concept of recycling these thin plastic bags is good, but to really make a dent in recycling plastic, I wish the grocery stores would have plastic bottle recycling - that's where the significant gains are. I need to get my wife in gear about recycling all of the coke bottles she goes through .... which is a ton if you drink 3 Liters a day!
Take care, and say hi to Todd,

CC said...

My son's school collects granola bar wrappers to upcycle into bags!

sa said...


Janelle said...

Yay up-cycling! This is what the Earth needs! creative people making cool stuff out of waste! What a great blog post, I love the photos you posted, especially the bags. I also wrote a blog post about up-cycling check it out here:


My Sweet Prairie said...

Look what I got to upcycle! Oh my lord. ; )

I would love your feedback : )