Why Upcycle?

Jumper Cushion

Argyle Cushion Project on

Upcycling is becoming increasingly popular among groups and individuals concerned about climate change.  Recycling is great but it requires energy and resources to collect, sort and process unwanted items and waste.

Upcycling is an even greener way of recycling – you find a new purpose for your unwanted items before you chuck them away.  It’s all about taking disposable things and creating something useful  from them.  Usually the only energy being used is your own and it can save you money too.

For example, you might use an old woolly jumper to make a cushion cover or stuff all your plastic bags into a giant sock to create a draught excluder.  Instead of buying expensive arts & crafts sets for your kids, keep hold of old egg cartons, cardboard boxes and other containers – you’ll be surprised how long some unwanted cardboard and a set of paints can keep children amused.

The need to find alternative ways to deal with our waste has never been greater – across Britain we throw a staggering amount of stuff into landfill. Even if you look just at clothing and textiles…. we throw 1.8 million tonnes away every year.

Making your cut-off jeans is an easy first upcycling project


Instead of paying extra for eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton or bamboo silk, try transforming an old item of clothing into something new, for example cutting old faded jeans into vintage style shorts for the summer.



Upcycling helps the environment in several ways;

  • Your old items aren’t going to landfill sites, where a gas called methane is released, which contributes to climate change.
  • There’s no need to recycle them in the traditional sense, which requires energy and resources.
  • If you can make use of old items, it might save you buying new things – thus, reducing the need for more goods to be manufactured.
  • So, before you start filling your recycling bags, have a think about other uses for your unwanted bits and pieces and you’ll not only help the environment, but should also save yourself some money too.


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