A lot of us indulge in discarding clutter out once in a while. Without a single thought, we are quick to discard the things which are no longer fit to fulfil their intended purpose. These things are unacceptable to our current standards; be it the age of the material or otherwise.
Using something old and repurposing or remodelling it isn’t something that comes to us naturally. We, essentially, are conditioned to think that the ‘old’ is to be discarded. The old is undeserving. Also, reusing or repurposing something is a lot of effort when you have money at your disposal and the convenience of available goods and services.
But the life of a product goes much further than after you have discarded it. We believe in an ‘out of sight is out of mind’ thought process. These discarded items end up in landfills fuelling the already alarming garbage crisis of the nation.
While we are relatively familiar with the concepts of waste segregation and recycling, the one term that I would like to focus on is ‘Upcycling’. Upcycling is an activity of creating new objects out of old/used things and materials. You get to creatively repurpose objects tailored to your needs. This also means that you are saving a substantial amount of items from ending up in garbage dumps.
We as humans today, consume to generate waste. Our consumption patterns are based a lot on convenience, wants and minimal efforts. We don’t stop to think about who or what we are impacting in the wake of them. This results in us generating millions of tonnes of waste per year.
Getting more use out of the items not just means polluting less, but you also buy less, spend less and are living more sustainably. Imagine if each one of us started upcycling, it would create waves deep down to the supply chain as well. We would demand less, reduce consumption of virgin material and save up on our natural resources at large.
But how is upcycling different from recycling, you ask? Recycling entails complete breakdown of the base materials whereas upcycling only is the alteration of the original item. While recycling materials is a good practice, it still contributes to carbon footprint due to the machinery used for the breakdown process itself.
While it may sound daunting, you can find items to upcycle around you, all the time. It can be something as small as reusing glass containers for decoration or making bags out of those clothes which don’t fit you anymore. DIY could become a new hobby and the sheer creativity in it will keep you thoroughly engaged.
Changing the perception of waste in the minds of people will reduce the burden on landfills. One small action of upcycling is a step taken towards sustainability and a waste-free future.