#20 Upcycling

When you can’t recycle or repair, consider upcycling…

The intent of upcycling is to reuse something that would otherwise be thrown out. Upcyclers make old or discarded items into something useful, saving them from the landfill. It’s hip, it’s art, it’s eco-friendly; What more could you want?

Check out these upcycle examples:

upcycled legos make keychain holder

Lego keychain holder

upcycled gumball machine into aquarium

Gumball aquarium

upcycled safety belt into key chain holder

Safety belt key chain

upcycled movie wheel into wine rack

Movie reel wine rack

solar powered deodorant bike light - upcycled

Solar powered deodorant bike light

This is just the tip of the iceburg! See the full list at greenmoxie.com and get inspired to turn ordinary stuff into radical and useful everyday items.

One thing I’ve found is that when you build something yourself you also take much more pride in it and you actually enjoy it more. And when you value stuff more, you waste less!

This effect is actually a real phenomenon and we can use it to our advantage as we sculpt our habits to help us become more eco friendly. Learn more about adding value to your stuff in this TED talk.

So next time you feel the need to buy something for your home, take a sec to browse the web and see if there’s a DIY upcycle tutorial that could help you repurpose an old bike into a towel rack or an office cabinet into a hip bookshelf. (I’ve provided a few resources to get you started below.)

And if you’re not a hands-on person, or just don’t have the time, check out an upcycle store near you. They’ve been popping up lately so there’s a good chance you can find one in your neighborhood.

Your Action Item

Add upcycle to your eco tool box along with reduce, repair, and recycle.


Start the cycle:

<< #19 Repair


The Ikea Effect

Check out this TED Talk about why we value cheap Ikea furniture more than other brands. Hint: it has to do with how difficult it is to put together.

Upcycle That

From cork gnomes to shipping container houses, this site has upcycling covered.


Browse and shop upcycled products.

8 Awesome Upcycle Shops

The title says it all…




I am a minimalist, environmentalist, and conscious consumer with a background in environmental studies, conservation, and tech. I founded prch to help others be more sustainable and realize an alternative to consumerism.