March 2015 By Life Positive Come March and thoughts of spring-cleaning invade the mind. But this time, instead of throwing out all the stuff you no longer use, why not give them a new lease of life, by turning them into useful and pretty objects? How about turning discarded plastic bottles into mops and glass bottles into plant-pots? Or discarded CDs into a DIY lamp shade? Or broken chairs into cool storage boxes? Or maybe a rugged and faded pair of denims into a sturdy carry bag? There are options aplenty should you choose to ‘upcycle’. Upcycling is the latest initiative in the crusade against garbage-reduction and environmental protection across the world. Upcycling, as the name suggests, upgrades apparently useless and ready-to-be-discarded goods into something useful. The focus is also on aesthetics and artistry. For example; a used glass or plastic bottle sent off to the recycling plant will be pulped before being converted into glass or plastic again; upcycling enables that same bottle to be hand-painted and used as a flower vase. The products are remodelled into new products. The philosophy behind upcycling is to gradually reduce and curb product consumption while ensuring that smaller amounts of trash end in landfills. This also ensures a long-term advantage of bringing down the supply of superfluous consumable products in the market. Not only that, upcycling also makes sure that people become mindful consumers and learn to keep a watch on what they are bringing in and trashing out. The most important aspect of this initiative is that it is 100 per cent green. When one upcycles he or she removes one trash item a time from the global trash sites. While recycling consumes resources and energy, upcycling only requires some creativity and manual labour from your end. Green the Gap is one such non-profit initiative by Delhi-based non-government organisation, Swechha, which offers upcycled products. It converts unemployed women into skilful craftspersons who create upcycled bags, purses, wallets, coasters, conference bags, stationery and many other products made of discarded tetra packs, tyre tubes, milk packets, and chips packets. There are thousands of creative ideas to upcycle various products on the internet. Spring to it already!
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