Style, Grace, and Upcycling


Who needs a dumpster when you can upcycle?

Upcycling converts items previously considered ‘garbage’ into new creations. Today you can find wallets made out of bicycle tires and purses composed of post-consumer pop tabs. Upcycling was coined in the book “Cradle to Cradle” which flips the ‘cradle to grave’ idea of products into a closed loop ideal. For Cradle to Cradle, each component of a product is designed to continually be upcycled, creating no waste. The vision is to create a world in which waste does not exist, only items that can continually evolve into new things or biodegrade back into nature. The pages of the actual book are waterproof and it is printed with special ink so that it can be collected off the page and reused along with the book.

What if you only owned one book that could be transformed from an economics text book to a romantic fiction novel simply by cleaning and reprinting the pages? The idea is revolutionary, but the concept of upcycling is one we have embraced for quite some time.

You don’t have to be a chemist like Michael Braungart or an architect like William McDonough, the authors, to start upcycling things around the house. The magazine “ReadyMade” hosts stylish and long-lasting upcycling ideas including this vintage Traveling Trunk into a Bar on Wheels transformation. With a quick trip to the hardware store, we can easily makeover defunct or ‘lost’ items into something fun, useable, and unique. ReadyMade is a great source of inspiration because they have anything from small art projects to large-scale furniture and home designs.

View ReadyMade’s Projects

Find a ReUse center near you

It looks like Upcycling has hit the mainstream media as well, check out this article in Reuters about Australia’s efforts.

There are plenty of ‘Do It Yourself’ sites out there, so please feel free to share your favorites and let’s get a rolling list going!

If you enjoyed this post, keep yourself updated with all my latest posts:
Subscribe to my RSS Feed

RSS Icon
Sign Up for Daily Morning Emails


  1. Wow! I think that is a really cool idea! If we just think creatively, we can reuse our resources in so many different ways…

    • Sarah R
    • January 27th, 2010

    Great article! I love the upcycling idea, especially the Bar on Wheels-very cool!

  2. You can see lots of upcycled products on Etsy. People make gorgeous creations with old cashmere sweaters – either cutting them apart, or unraveling the wool and knitting a new item. Really beautiful stuff.

  3. Upcycling is a great idea and if everyone adopts it, the world will be a far better place to live. Thanks for sharing this. A greener world is a safer one.

  4. Glad you all liked it! Etsy is a great place to shop for vintage and/or upcycled goods. They also are starting to sell products to do upcycling with, so keep your eye out for local vendors.

    Here is the Do It Yourself network’s crafts page: Although it isn’t specifically upcycling, like Readymade, it has some great ideas that you could turn into upcycle projects.

  1. January 27th, 2010

Best Green Blogs Eco Friendly, Environment & Green Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory Environment Blogs Green Top Sites - Ranking the Best Green Sites on the Internet Renewable Energy Topsites Promote Your Blog