Recycling: A New Creative Outlook

Today, the bulk of our household waste or garbage goes to garbage dumps or landfills which are large sites that are designed to isolate the garbage from the surrounding area. Each day, the landfills are covered with soil and compacted with big machines in order to keep garbage blowing around communities. However, garbage needs sunlight, air, temperature and water to break down. By their nature, landfills do not allow that. The daily application of soil on the collected garbage cuts off sunlight and air and water is sealed off. As a result, items in a landfill decompose at a much slower rate. Also organic waste that decomposes in an anaerobic or airless situation like a landfill produces a gas which is composed primarily of methane. Methane is one of the greenhouse gases contributing to global climate change. For every kilogram of solid waste that goes into a landfill, two kilograms of greenhouse gases are produced.

 

In fact, in most cities it is now common practice to have separate collection bins, in order to reduce waste.

But doing a separate collection is not the only way to recycle used items: there is also another way which is that of creative recycling. What does it mean?

Discarded items or waste provide a bountiful, although largely ignored, resource for artists interested in appropriating found objects to give them a second life or share their story. Every object, from the simplest to the most complex, can be given a new life thanks to creative recycling. Often the only things needed are a good dose of imagination and practicality! Slowly everyone can reach good levels in this fun practice and decorate their own home!

Often, It can also serve to avoid further spending.

Don’t trash it — rehome it! Don’t assume an item is worthless and not worth saving — you may find that other people actually value or are even seeking your items! Look for ways to sell, donate, or giveaway items that you no longer love.

For example, many things can be done with plastic bottles: pen holders, flower pots, even parts of an irrigation system. Instead, used car tires become planters for the garden, or swings for children.

 

Benefits of creative reuse/upcycling

  • Conserves resources and prevents waste.  When we creatively reuse things, we reduce the energy and material demands that are required to produce new products and materials. Creative reuse also helps to reduce waste by giving new life to things that might otherwise end up in the trash.
  • Significance and uniqueness. Creatively upcycled items often have interesting histories. It’s part of what makes them unique and adds to their overall value and importance. There’s satisfaction, as well, to be gained from knowing that these items can’t be found at the local big-box stores or bought online. When we value what we have, we are happier, feel less want, and don’t throw things away so readily.
  • Supports local economies and creates new demands. Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or prefer to let others do the creating for you, read on for tips on creative reuse redecorating and ways to integrate it into your own home improvement efforts.

 

Upcycling

Upcycling is a way of recycling creatively,  turning items that would otherwise be unused into functional and useful things.
An example often seen is when people reuse wooden pallets and turn them into anything from outdoor seating areas to staircases.

Upcycling can produce striking decorative items, or items that are merely practical, such as an upturned plastic bottle used to irrigate a plant pot while someone is away on holiday or a quirky toothbrush holder.

Either way, the items get used again rather than being treated as waste.

Downcycling

Upcycling, as described above, is something we hear a lot about these days, with some people even building businesses around upcycled items. Downcycling is just as useful but involves stripping down items

to component parts, usually with less of an inherent value than the original item.

Downcycling usually happens on an industrial scale. However, anyone looking how to make creative things from waste material at home will also find examples of downcycling that work as personal projects, such as using old clothes as dusters or linings for pet beds or turning the good old plastic bottle into a dainty set of earrings.

It is proven that most of us learn easier with and from others (peer-to-peer learning). Thus, we also change behaviour easier when we learn and act in groups that motivate us. Platforms for exchange with like-minded peers are essential for living new habits (and prevent falling back into the old unsustainable behaviour).

 

This is your moment to step up! Here’s a list of things you could do :

Organize a swap. Consider having a décor swap with friends. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to refresh your surroundings while clearing out stuff you’re ready to part with!

Give an Eco-Friendly Twist To House Cleaning. Most kitchen sponges are made of cellulose (natural fibres). However, the scrubby part is typically made of polyester or nylon. These materials are neither recyclable nor biodegradable and are made from nonrenewables such as oil and gas. Whereas, coconut scrubs have been an everlong practice in Indian households. Here’s your window to make the switch! 

Make sustainability fun! Introducing sustainability practises throughout your service and to children in your care should form part of your everyday life. Perhaps a little arts and crafts? Not only will it encourage your little climate crusader to appreciate nature but also encourage others to do the same.

Buy Pre-loved Clothing. The stigma around second-hand clothing is fading as young millennials strive to realize that the three main drivers of the fashion industry’s global pollution impacts are dyeing / finishing, yarn preparation and fiber production. As we actively move towards sustainability it outpaces the fast fashion industry across the globe.

Whenever one talks about environment friendly alternatives, the general perception is that it is an expensive affair but what if we tell you that you can go green and be cost-efficient? Put all your creativity on the bench to create something completely new, using old objects.

As Leo Buscagalia once said, “Change is the end result of all learning.” We as the human race bear the burden of polluting the very nature we were born in - it is inherently our responsibility to alleviate our carbon footprint by adapting one healthy practice at a time.

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