Recycle, Upcycle, and Reuse, Oh My!

Recycle, Upcycle, and Reuse, Oh My!

As a Junker, collector, antique hunter and artist, I feel that it is my responsibility, my duty, nay my obligation to Recycle – Upcycle –Repurpose and Reuse. Recycling is a great way to give back to our planet, but a new movement called Upycling could be the new Recycling. What Upcycling means is taking a discarded item and reusing it in such a way to create a higher purpose! One of my favorite Upcycles is a cheese grater that is spray painted and turned into a jewelry holder.


 This responsibility comes from not only my incredible love for the Earth and the World that we live in, but also because of these “Man Made” Facts:

Landfill decomposition rates:

Milk carton: 5 years

Plastic milk jug: 500 years

Aluminum can: 80 to 200 years

Plastic drinking bottles: hundreds of years

Plastic bags: hundreds of years

Cigarette butt: up to five years & leaches toxins into the ground

Newspaper: 2 to 4 weeks or longer

Glass bottles: tens of thousands of years

Styrofoam: no sign of ever breaking down

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We can no longer just sit idly by and let OUR junk, stuff, garbage, leftovers, trash, waste, litter (so many names!!) take over the Universe.  We MUST put on our Thinking Caps and look Outside the Box for solutions to control this mess!! We must find new ways to reuse, recycle, or Upcycle the items we think no longer have a purpose for in our lives! We have the opportunity to take items that are viewed as trash and Upcycle them in order to give these items a new life in your home!




We were Big Time Campers when we were kids.  The moment school let out for summer, my mom would have our household packed up inside our pop up camper and we would head for the shores of Lake Michigan.  We camped all summer long.  Our Canvas Cottage held some of the sweetest memories ever granted a child and we learned to respect and revere the world of Mother Nature.


Our first order of business before even unpopping the pop-up was to “Clean the Campground”.  We would scour our site for scraps of paper and cigarette butts, bottle caps and lost pennies.  We made sure that our summertime home was pristine and as close to nature as we could make it.  We gathered fallen sticks to make that evenings fire in the pit and we collected leaves and driftwood and shells to make “works of art” for our outdoor décor.  We were environmentalists from the beginning and learned how to Upcycle found objects into usable pieces in our life under the moon and trees. It was a chance for us to be creative and have the opportunity to Upcycle what others had discarded into a valuable treasure.


As we begin the second half of summer, the next few blogs will be about Upcycling the most basic of items; things we use and see every single day. It will also be items that you can find in a storage unit, which can be Upcycled instead of discarded! I want you to create, from these suggestions, your own Campsite full of Nature’s Artwork and reuse of our “throw-aways”.  Below is a video made by Coca-Cola, and it features all different Upcycle ideas with plastic bottles, take a second to watch the video!!



I have searched the Internet for the most interesting and simple ideas and their related sites.  There is an explosion of how to Upcycle anything that could be considered trash into new and unique items for your household. Below are a bunch of Upcycle ideas using plastic bottles. I have included a link to the website with the instructions on how to complete each Upcycle.  I would love it if you would share your ideas with us in the comments section!!!








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Mother Earth is the only Home we have and we MUST protect her and Honor her and, most importantly, Care For Her!!!

Until Next Time

Keep on Junkin’











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