In recent years, there has been a major trend towards living a more sustainable and/or upcycled lifestyle. Various brands and blogs provide information on alternatives to everyday products. We know it can be overwhelming to understand all the different options. Should I give up paper towels? Should I change how I shop for clothing? We are here to break down the ins-and-outs of upcycling and sustainability.
Upcycling is “The process of converting an industrial nutrient (material) into something of similar or greater value, in its second life,” (Sustainability Dictionary). According to Forbes, “Upcycling reduces cloth and textile waste by reusing deadstock or gently-used fabric to create new garments and products.” When we choose to upcycle, we create less waste that would end up in a landfill. Our Grace Scarf is a perfect example of upcycling. We turn 100% cotton t-shirts that no longer serve a purpose and into a fashionable accessory.
The Rethreaded leather product line is upcycled as well. The products are made with upcycled airline seat covers donated by Southwest AirlinesⓇ . Our production team spends time cleaning, sorting and stripping each piece of leather before it becomes a beautiful accessory. Our staff makes it a priority to use natural dyes and cleaning products while working with leather. Instead of sitting in a landfill, the materials transform into something new and improved for our customers to enjoy. Learn more about the process here.
The act of upcycling can perpetuate a sustainable lifestyle that has a positive impact on our planet. If we band together as a society, choosing to upcycle more, we can create a more sustainable earth.
Sustainability is “the physical development and institutional operating practices that meet the needs of present users without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, particularly with regard to use and waste of natural resources.” (UCLA Sustainability Committee).
As a planet, we are depleting resources faster than they can be replaced (Nurit Katz, UCLA’s Chief Sustainability Officer). A way to slow down that process is to choose sustainable items as part of our everyday life. For example, choosing to buy a toothbrush made from recycled materials instead of plastic creates less waste. A plastic toothbrush takes hundreds of years to decompose, while a bamboo toothbrush takes six months to a year (Huffington Post UK).
Replacing your paper towels with more sustainable products is another way to move into a sustainable lifestyle. “According to the EPA, the paper makes up the largest share of municipal waste in the US,” (Ocean Conservancy). A more sustainable option than paper towels is washable rags and towels (our employees like to use our Bag O Rags.) If you find yourself using traditional paper towels, the most sustainable option is to compost them.
Image via Lucrimas Blog
What are some ways you upcycle and practice sustainable living? What are some creative ways to repurpose items you already own? Let us know in the comments.