Sunday, October 5, 2014

Learning to "Upcycle"

Stores charge quite a bit for nice durable tote bags. ( Photo: )

              We have all heard the slogan, "Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle", but how many of us have taken it to the next level and developed a plan to Upcycle ?    When we upcycle, we carefully consider something we have in abundance, often as a leftover from another essential activity at our location.  Then, we formulate a plan to redevelop it as something else that will be prized more highly, and that may actually make us some money.  Our activity will also place less in the landfills.

              One example of upcycling would be the local family who lived on a farm, and like me, had large numbers of sturdy feed bags for animals.  The bags themselves are water resistant, attractive, and very sturdy.  I keep them myself should we ever need to assemble sandbags or claybags.  The family who learned to upcycle, took a variety of the bags they use for different feeds, and turned the bags into attractive totebags for shopping and into bib style aprons as gifts, just using a normal sewing machine they already owned.  The bags  are durable, quite attractive, and can be sold as well as given as gifts.  In the last couple of years I have gotten away from gift wrapping irregularly shaped gifts and I now give them in tote bags after being wrapped in a small amount of tissue paper.

This bag's photo by:

               The bags can be structured and used as is, or additionally lined if you wish.   These make excellent shopping bags which can cut down on the number of paper or plastic bags you acquire in the course of shopping, if you wish.
                Additionally, in this era of Ebola, MRSA, and enterovirus, these bags have the exterior lined with a durable plastic, and so, after shopping, you can take a paper towel with isopropyl alcohol on it, and clean the outside of these bags as a supplemental way of limiting the viruses and bacteria you are bringing into your home.

                 The holidays are just a few months away.  With time, assets, and money being in short supply for most everyone, now is the time to think about making gifts of all kinds and about how they might be wrapped.  The entire concept of "upcycling" is an inspiring one.