Sunday, November 27, 2022

Get Eco-consciously Creative by Upcycling

We hear a lot about sustainability and eco-friendly living, but are you familiar with the term “upcycling”? If you aren’t, get ready to celebrate National Upcycling Day tomorrow, June 24. 

Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, encompasses the sustainable use of household goods, adding your own creative spin to old objects and furniture to make it something new. In other words, it’s the myriad of ways people reuse someone’s “trash” into someone else’s treasure. The end goal is to help keep hundreds of thousands of pounds of reusable materials out of landfills each year. 

Jennifer O’Brien, Executive Director at the Resource Depot

West Palm Beach nonprofit Resource Depot shines the light on upcycling on a daily basis. They are the only creative reuse center in South Florida whose mission is to help turn waste into artistic wonder by collecting and distributing excess materials like ribbon, yarn, craft materials, office supplies and more to benefit classrooms, summer camps, art studios, and most importantly, the environment. At the Resource Depot, visitors experience the Material Marketplace and TreasuRE Boutique for shopping a diverse array of reused items, the cREate Space for public workshops for all ages, and an exhibition GalleRE to support local artisans and makers.

We spoke to Jennifer O’Brien, Executive Director at the Resource Depot, on five easy ways we can all incorporate upcycling into our everyday lives. It’s the ideal marriage where personal creativity unites with sustainable living.


Design and create one-of-a-kind jewelry out of found objects like bicycle tire tubes that will surely garner compliments.

Bike tube earrings

Wrap scraps of magazines into paper beads to hand-make a unique piece.

Magazine paper beads

Household Organization 

Glue wine bottle corks to a picture frame to create an effective yet cool looking earring holder.

Cork earring display

Paper Goods

Transform leftover note pads, greeting cards, and mailed envelopes into a new journal.

Make your own postcards and mail them out to your family and friends. Emails and texting are convenient, but there’s still no better feeling than receiving a handwritten note in the mail. 

Here are terms to know when chatting about environmental preservation! 

Reuse is exactly what it sounds like. The process of reusing an item as many times as you are able, rather than disposing of it after a single use.

Repurposing involves giving an item a new purpose or use other than what it was originally intended for. 

Recycling converts a material into something of roughly the same, or lesser value (depending on the number of times it has been recycled) as it originally was. Recyclable items like glass, plastic, and paper are broken down and used again to form another product. 

Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products perceived to be of greater quality, such as artistic value or environmental value. With upcycling, you provide materials with new life, instead of stretching out materials to the end of their use cycle. 

Mark your Calendars! 

The Resource Depot is hosting its very own Upcycle Weekend of events September 16-17 where the community can purchase tickets to learn from “Movers & Makers” while getting their craft on with creative reuse and remaking something of their very own! 

They are currently doing a call out for any artists or vendors interested in participating and hosting mini workshops. Anyone interested in participating may email Jennifer O’Brien at

For more from Olivia Hollaus, click here.

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