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Upcycling: How it benefits the planet and your wallet!

By Lulu Meade

A brilliant way to save yourself some money and save the planet some waste is to get started in upcycling. Whether you’re looking for a crafty project to keep you occupied during lockdown or have some furniture going spare, check out this guide for all your upcycling needs.

There are a million ways to extend the life cycle of spare bits and bobs and you don’t need to be a Grand Designs protegee to transform your home.

What is upcycling?

Upcycling is the process of reusing and transforming old or discarded goods to give them a new lease of life. It could be anything from turning wine bottles into candlestick holders, transforming t-shirts into tote bags or even giving a chest of drawers a fresh lick of paint. By painting, sanding, sewing and hot-gluing, you can increase the value of unloved goods in your home and unleash your creativity!

Upcycling helps the planet

Reduce and prevent landfill waste

There are two major ways in which upcycling helps the planet. The first is that by keeping and transforming a previously unloved good, you’re saving it from being sent to landfills. Those piles and piles of waste can often take years to decompose, and in doing so can release dangerous materials into our ecosystems. Things like the dyes in fabric can get into the soil, where they can end up polluting the water systems. By extending the life of fabrics and textiles, you’re helping to reduce that damage!

As well as helping the planet by reducing the amount of material that ends up in landfills, you’re also reducing your contribution to a production cycle that is also massively damaging to the planet. Making a single cotton t-shirt can require 2,700 liters of water, so if you can find a way to transform a top not only are you making the most of the materials that have gone into making it, but you are reducing your contribution to the demand for new goods.

We all know that waste is bad, but upcycling is a fun and easy way to combat all that environmental damage.

what is upcycling

Upcycling can help your wallet

It’s pretty clear how upcycling goods can help your bank account- it stops you spending! By transforming things that are already in your home, you still get that joy of having something new in your wardrobe or around your house without the price tag! If you don’t have any material to work with at home, check out your local charity shop or local buy and sell sites to see what second hand bargains you can snag and make your own. Given the state of the world and economy, we’re all looking for ways to save money right now and this is an easy, fun way to battle some of those more consumerist habits!

how to upcycle
Upcycling Ideas:

There really aren’t any rules when it comes to upcycling projects but here are a few tips and tricks to help get you started.

  • Pinterest if going to be your best friend. There are pages and pages of DIY inspiration on there, along with instructionals on how to recreate some beautiful projects. If you see something you love on there or even whilst browsing online, you’ll likely be able to recreate it at home for a fraction of the price! And while you’re there, I have to recommend a really great page dedicated to helping you take control of your finances… check out Nova on for more money saving tips!

  • It’s a good idea to have a browse before you get started to make sure you know what you want to achieve and can make sure you have all the material you’ll need. There’s nothing worse than starting a crafts project and having to stop halfway through to go find missing parts.

  • If you’re painting at home and don’t have any space to do it outside, see if you can get your hands on some old newspapers or magazines to lay down- your floor will thank you!

  • You don’t need a full tool box or an engineering degree to get crafty, if you’re feeling intimidated just start small. You’d be amazed at what a lick of paint can do to transform some unloved furniture.

  • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Be creative! If things go wrong just channel your inner Bob Ross- happy accidents can lead you in all sorts of fun directions

If you’re feeling inspired and want to find more money-saving hacks, check out the Nova blog! If you’re looking for better ways to monitor your bills and spending and take control of your budgeting check out the free Nova app.

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