Upcycled Birdhouses Turn Junk Into Art

A few months back, we blogged about the concept of upcycling. In short, upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or products that cannot be recycled into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. In fact, just last week we covered a story about Method and their upcycled plastic packaging made ocean waste. Though people have been upcycling things for years, the term wasn’t officially coined until recently. Now it seems it’s becoming quite popular in our eco-conscious world.

The folks at Gadgetsponge.com, for example, are beginning to make quite a name for themselves by making upcycled birdhouses. The birdhouses are pieces of art made from items collected at flea markets, thrift stores, antique stores, etc. The designs are made from a random list of items including old license plates, trophies, oil cans, scrap metal, and metal space heaters. The birdhouses are really colorful and unique and available for purchase on their website.

Method Unveils Packaging Made From Upcycled Ocean Plastic

Method has unveiled its latest innovation in sustainable packaging- a bottle that is made out of plastic collected from the North Pacific Gyre, also referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The bottle contains 100% post-consumer polyethylene, 25% of which is plastic collected from the Gyre. Method has partnered with Envision Plastics who is one of the largest recyclers in the US making it possible to make this Ocean PCR that is the same quality as virgin HDPE plastic.

The process starts will collecting and cleaning the plastic removing unwanted contaminants where it is then blended and remanufactured into high quality plastic. The beauty is that the upcycled ocean plastic can be recycled again and again. Method’s ultimate goal is to raise awareness that the real solution to plastic pollution lies in reusing and recycling the plastic that’s already on the planet. Method also aims to prove that green business can grow the US economy and create jobs.

Method made its first bottle entirely from post-consumer recycled plastic in 2006. Since then they’ve been known as a leading innovator in premium eco-friendly household and personal care products by developing plastic packaging that is completely free from virgin plastics. Method products can be found in over 35,000 retail locations.

What is Upcycling?

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or products that cannot be recycled into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. This is a fairly new term in our increasingly eco-conscious world. Upcycling embraces uniqueness and creativity because upcycled products are truly one of a kind.

One of the pioneers of upcycling is TerraCycle. They are taking wasteful materials such as drink pouches, chip bags, and tooth brushes and making them into a variety of neat consumer products. TerraCycle’s products are available through a number of retailers including Wal-Mart and Target as well as online.

The goal of TerraCycle is to help eliminate waste. They run their own collection programs at many major retailers, theatres, stadiums, and restaurants. In fact, you can sign up on their website to donate certain waste items to TerraCycle and they’ll pay the shipping to get it from you and donate money to a charity of your choice. Find out more about How TerraCycle Works.

These products are very fun. Take a look at some examples below and check out TerraCycle on Facebook and Twitter.

Upcycled Packaging

Have you heard the term Upcycling? Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. It is the opposite of downcycling, which involves converting materials and products into new materials of lesser quality. Most recycling involves converting or extracting useful materials from a product and creating a different product or material.

Upcycling, in reference to packaging, has a slighly different definition. It’s the creative use of the shape and characteristics of existing packaging to create new products or packaging. Here are some great examples of upcycled packaging:


The pioneers of Upcycling: Terracycle