Upcycling movements have been gaining traction in recent years as more people become aware of the impact of waste on the environment and how the pace of consumerism is affecting the quality of products we’re offered. (After all, why buy that expensive piece of furniture with a faux veneer and flimsy supports when you could make your piece exactly the way you want using the sturdy wood from Goodwill finds?)
Euro Ceramica is proud to be a part of this upcycling movement by offering our customers recycled glass products that look great and help reduce waste by giving new life to discarded or broken glass. With that in mind, here are three upcycling movements we’re watching and absolutely living for:
Upcycling tourism trash
Many countries worldwide rely on tourism as their primary source of income and economic stability. This can be a win-win for individuals looking to travel and countries looking to host, but it can also whittle away at the quality of the destinations when many tourists discard garbage all over the place. It’s not good for the environment and can eventually reduce the foot traffic of tourists as the public perception shifts negatively.
In response to this issue, communities are finding innovative ways to upcycle the trash left behind by tourists, allowing them to enjoy the economic benefits of tourism traffic without the environmental harm. Examples of this movement include gathering discarded glass bottles and turning them into vases, cups, and jewelry. These creative solutions not only reduce waste but also create new sources of income for local communities.
Upcycling to avoid fast fashion
The fast fashion industry is known for its negative environmental impact, with millions of tons of clothing ending up in landfills each year. If an article of clothing does make its way into the hands of a consumer, it eventually gets sent to Goodwill (for newer, trending designs, of course–hence ‘fast fashion’).
From here, a secondary issue arises: the oversaturation of low-quality garments at goodwill locations. This shift forces individuals of lower socioeconomic status into buying flimsy clothes that will have them returning for even more replacement clothes sooner than they would have had to with high-quality apparel.
The most obvious way to combat this issue would be to not partake in the fast fashion industry, but that can be easier said than done with a turbulent economy.
Cue the second upcycling movement: rather than donating cheap clothes to Goodwill and buying more articles of similar quality, people are repurposing the material into new styles of clothing or other craft projects that involve fabric. It’s a fun way to make the best of what you have to work with, and it allows more space in goodwill locations for high-quality pieces.
Upcycling broken ceramics
Whether through accidental drops or harsh shipping conditions, ceramics sometimes break. When looking at the shattered pieces, you may be reminded of the Japanese technique of repairing ceramics with gold. This is called Kintsugi, a beautiful way to repurpose the pieces and create meaning through a constructed work of art. This is especially stunning for solid-color pieces, so attention isn’t pulled from the striking metallic seams.
But what if you can’t afford to repair your broken plate with GOLD? Or what if such a process detracts from the intricate details of the pieces?
This is where the third upcycling movement we love comes in: tumbling those pieces to smooth out the edges while maintaining their aesthetic beauty and giving them practical use as jewelry, fridge magnets, or mosaic art pieces. This alternative approach is much more accessible with the help of DIY tumblers (and doesn’t require the use of precious metals!).
(Note: If you buy from Euro Ceramica and find that one of your pieces has broken in the shipping process, we don’t require you to return it. We send you a replacement for free, and you can tumble the original piece for your own desired purposes!)
At Euro Ceramica, we believe that everyone can make a difference by looking around themselves and finding ways to upcycle. Whether repurposing old items or investing in companies that use recycled materials, small actions can have a big impact. We are proud to offer our customers a range of recycled glass products that are not only beautiful but also help reduce waste. By choosing upcycling, consumers show large corporations that they value high-quality goods without cutting corners on ethical and environmental issues.
Thank you for doing your part to live sustainably within your means and voting with your dollars to create a greener future.