Given that I'm always using the word 'Upcycling' I thought I'd have a muse on the whole subject. It's something I do that I love-but I had never really looked into the origins of the word/concept before.
The Wikipedia definition goes as follows:

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upcycling
Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling, which is the other half of the recycling process. Downcycling 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.[2]

I've always been a huge fan of upcycling and I'm listed in the directory of the http://www.theupcyclemovement.com/ along with many other Irish people who love repurposing as much as I do. One of these is Mike from the Refined Pallet
 https://www.facebook.com/TheRefinedPallet - do have a look at his page if you have time. He does really beautiful work, all created from pallets and other abandoned materials.
The work I do is on a small scale by comparison but I do love to make use of things that would be thrown out otherwise. Mostly I use jars and ceramics to hold my candles but I also use all the little bits of ribbon attached to clothes that people normally throw out. I can easily incorporate these into cards and candle presentation.
Of course it does sometimes take a little work to make the item into something new and beautiful -
from this....

to this....
Mini upcycled jar candles in soy wax

takes quite a bit of effort sometimes! My new process is just to leave the jars to soak for days in a bucket of cold water - I've found this is the easiest way to remove the labels. Some, that I have tried to do in a rush before, involved much scrubbing + dishwasher + then sometimes white spirit and another dishwasher run. Just to try and get rid of every last bit of glue!
 I think it's all worth it in the end though - although perhaps it might be easier and more cost effective to just buy new jars, I really get a sense of satisfaction at seeing how pretty they look and knowing that the life span of the jar is extended that little bit more.
Also I love that people now know that I reuse jars, so I often get presents of jars. And very welcome they are too:)
So thanks to the lovely Karen from Roberstown Cottages who gave me a huge bag of jars http://www.robertstownholidayvillage.com/ and also to Jess who brought me some containers collected by her aunt :) https://www.facebook.com/fjphotography.loveit?fref=ts
Next Post Previous Post
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous 5 June 2013 at 20:25

    just a suggestion for removing that awful glue they use on labels...i use a bit of oil...whatever is on hand, olive, sunflower..whatever. oil dissolves oil and it works a treat! just put a few drops on the stubborn label and rub with your fingers until the oil turns white and opaque then i add a drop of dish detergent to wash the oil away. sometimes i have to do this two or three times depending on the stubbornness of the glue but most times it just takes one good go :)

  • Cliona Kelliher
    Cliona Kelliher 5 June 2013 at 21:34

    Brilliant, thanks for that - I love to get tips like this. Some labels are fine - a good soaking gets rid of most of it. Others are left with a big film of glue though - I presume it's just the type of adhesive used?

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous 5 June 2013 at 23:40

    definitely...some companies spend the extra money on an easily removable adhesive and others just dont and we're left with this horrible stuff that wouldnt even come off in a nuclear storm!

Add Comment
comment url