Upcycling is a form of creative reuse, traditionally it is the process of transforming old materials or unwanted products into something useful and beautiful, and often of better quality.
Sometimes upcycling gets confused with downcycling when actually it is the opposite process. Downcycling is transforming materials and products into new materials of lesser quality.
When you upcycle an item, you aren’t changing the materials, you are just refashioning it – it’s still made of the same materials as when you started. For example, someone may want a new pair of jeans but they don’t want to spend the money on them, they could just add a few seams and patches instead of buying a new pair altogether. In the past decade, upcycling has become more popular due to the increased awareness of social and environmental responsibility.
When it comes to paper and cardboard, there are many ways that these materials can be upcycled. Many people upcycle cardboard into household items and interior decorations including tables, photo frames, jewelry boxes, and stationery holders.
One woman from the US used old cardboard to create an iPad case which wasn’t only beautiful but functional as well. She simply measured the cardboard from an old HP box and used the material from an old skirt to make a very beautiful case. A glue gun combined with a bit of sewing, and the upcycled cardboard iPad case was complete.
It really isn’t difficult to start being more ethical about the materials we use in our everyday life. Next time you go to throw out an old cardboard box, jump onto Etsy.com first and find a way to upcycle it into a practical item for your home.