Upcycling

Vertical Garden using a pallet

"Upcycling" isn't one of the R's, but it would definitely fit into the reuse category.  Most of the time, reuse refers to using something again, or using it for something else before sending it to the landfill.  Some may think that using baby food jars for screws and passing along hand-me-downs covers it.  Some may go farther by shopping at the thrift store or posting items in the classifieds.  These are all great.  Keep it up.

If your mind is always trying to come up with new ideas, upcycling is for you.  As we get closer to "Kick-it To The Curb" this weekend (see Events at neat.ca for more details) keep "upcycling" in mind.  According to Wkipedia,  Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.  See, that's simple.

Okay, maybe it's not that simple for everyone.  We are surrounded by groups and individuals that we can borrow ideas from.  Robert Ogilvie School upcycled by using dresser drawers and tires as planter boxes.  @NEATfsj on Twitter has been giving tips on several different ways to use the wood from pallets to make things.  Dave Tolley, a local musician, has taught kids how to create percussion sets out of old recyclables.  The possibilities are endless.

Are you still at a loss for ideas?  Don't feel bad.  Go to your computer and search the word  "upcycle."  Long lists of ideas, pictures, and instructional videos are there for creative support. It could get your creative juices flowing enough to come up with your own ideas. 

Now, take that to the next level.  Use those ideas when you are exploring your community this weekend.  What may be someone else's trash, could become your treasure.  What looked like an old garbage can to them, could be a rain barrel to you.  Old pallets could become vertical gardens.  An old boot could even become a flower pot.  Maybe something just needs a coat of paint, a new handle, or a couple of screws.

Get out there.  Create that treasure and share it with us.  We would love to hear about it!