The content of the article was contributed by Up and Away and re-edited by The Sustainability Project.
Were you ever caught in a situation where you have an item you need to throw out but do not bear to? … and you wonder to yourself if you can make anything new out of it? That thought by itself has already placed you in the first stage of upcycling.
Upcycling, also known as creative reusing, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality. It ultimately prevents waste from ending up in the landfills and allow you to give an item a new life!
Why does upcycling matter to me?
Contrary to popular belief, not everything can be recycled! These include certain types of plastic (type 6 PS plastic), food waste or anything that are contaminated. Thus, upcycling is an important way of reducing waste of such items. Upcycling can be a fun and meaningful activity which is great for family bonding. Families can do upcycling activities with their loved ones to not only have fun together, to learn more about waste-reduction.
New to upcycling and want to give it a try? Here are 5 simple ways on how you can upcycle at home:
Transform your old t-shirts into bags
For decades, the donation bin has offered a guilt-free way to unload your old clothing. In a virtuous and profitable cycle, a global network of traders would collect these garments, grade them, and transport them around the world to be recycled, worn again, or turned into rags and stuffing. However, that Fast fashion in Singapore is a worrying trend and donating them away to a charity might not be that rosy of an idea anymore.
Furthermore, only 7% of textile waste in Singapore are being recycled. So, if you want to throw away that oversized shirt or that dress from last season? Think again.
Why not solve that problem by looking up on Pinterest for some simple tutorials and inspiration on how you can transform your t-shirts from yesteryears into bags again – by simply cutting and tying, no sewing require at all! Interested to learn more? There are also workshops in Singapore that offer these classes such as Taikensonzai and WahSoSimple.
Goodbye plastic containers and hello, keychains
Did you know there are 7 grades of plastic in use and not all of them can be recycled in Singapore? Type 6 plastic is an example and they are most commonly found for use in kuehs and sushi packaging. Apart from reusing them, you could also upcycle it to become shrinky-dink keychains.
Turn fruits and vegetables waste into eco-enzyme cleaner
Food waste, such as fruits peels, are almost unavoidable as we consume them on a very frequent basis. Instead of throwing fruit and vegetable scraps away, you can turn them into a household cleaner, simply by adding sugar and water. Enzymatic cleaners are powerful all-purpose cleaners that can be used safely on most surfaces, including metal and glass. So do not let those foods waste go to waste! Find out how to make your own eco-enzyme cleaner from these Facebook groups!
Turn your food packaging into zip-pouches
One of the most common plastic waste is from food packaging like the potato chips that you cannot resist. These packaging might seem insignificant but pose a great threat when they are found in our oceans, causing marine pollution. But have you ever thought of transforming these packaging into pouches? They make great gifts and bring out the inner hipster in you! It is a simple and easy item to make as it requires no sewing and all that is needed is just stapler, scissors, masking tape from your home (although you do need to purchase is a zipper). Find out how to do it here!
Turn up for huat
With Chinese New Year just around the corner, you will receive abundance of red packets. But what to do with them? Well, you can use those red packets to make mandarin orange bags or candy baskets! Online tutorials are aplenty and you can make it together with your loved ones. These items can even contribute vibrant colours to your household and brighten up the atmosphere for Chinese New Year!
About Up and Away
It all began with a group of four individuals, who were passionate about the environment, and wanted to reduce waste in Singapore. The big question was, what else can we do to help solve the waste problem? That is when we discovered upcycling. ‘Up & Away’ is an environmental campaign which targets both parents and children (7-9 years old), to encourage families to reduce waste through upcycling! Find out more about their campaign on FB: fb.com/upandawaysg or website at upandawaysg.com.