As we’re all spending more time at home, it’s the perfect time to engage in a new craft or hobby. Why not use this time to try your hand at upcycling? Not only will this help to reduce the pressures on our waste collection services, you’d be surprised at how therapeutic a bit of creativity can be. It’s also a great time to reuse as much as possible at a time when many recycling centres are temporarily closed.
Check out our top 10 tips for upcycling or reusing your rubbish.
1. Upcycle old furniture
Why not brighten up that tired old desk by giving it a lick of paint. Add some peel and stick patterned paper to create an eye-catching design.
2. Reuse envelopes and plastic bags
Each time you receive post, ensure you open the envelope carefully to allow you to reuse it. Envelopes also make great to do lists or shopping lists. If you buy plastic bags from the supermarket, ensure you reuse the bags either as shopping or rubbish bags.
3. Upcycle metal cans into pretty plant pots / vases
Thoroughly clean out the cans and file down any sharp edges. Then cover in some old wallpaper or wrapping paper and secure with double sided sticky tape.
4. Reuse paper to wrap birthday presents
Old newspaper, maps, or even old sheet music can make a quirky, recyclable alternative to shop brought wrapping paper. Add string, raffia and some homemade labels for an added touch.
5. Upcycle vintage teacups into homemade candles
Old tea cups have so many uses. Find out how to make your own DIY teacup candle here. These also make thoughtful gifts.
6. Reuse shredded paper
If you’ve shredded your old bank statements, many local authorities won’t recycle shredded paper. Instead, why not offer it for free on a site such as Freegle to use as animal bedding. Or you could use it as eco-friendly void fill when packing fragile items.
7. Upcycle old paint pots into ice buckets
If you’ve been doing a spot of DIY and you have some empty paint pots lying around, why not turn them into stylish ice buckets to keep your drinks cool while you’re relaxing in the garden. Find out how here.
8. Reuse cardboard in your garden compost
Cardboard can be used in two ways in your garden compost. You can shred it and use it as a ‘brown’ material – compost needs a 50/50 mixture of green (wet) and brown (dry) ingredients. Alternatively you can use it as a layer over the top of your compost in winter. Compost works better when it’s kept warm.
9. Upcycle wine bottle corks into flower vases
Find a use for all those leftover wine bottle corks. Find out how here.
10. Reuse jars or containers
Glass jars or plastic containers can be reused multiple times. Take your containers with you to a zero waste shop and fill with cupboard essentials. Refill trials have also started in selected Asda, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose stores.