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How to Upcycle Unused Materials in Business

Upcycling has become extremely popular in recent years – albeit most commonly with people who engage in a little domestic DIY.

It’s a term that refers to the process of taking an old unused or unwanted material and upgrading it into something better and more useful. While recycling breaks a material down to be reused, this spruces something up and makes it fit for a better purpose. It’s essentially a buzzword for a long-standing tradition, with the same principles that underpinned the ‘make do and mend’ trend that your grandparents embraced.

In the modern day many people have embraced the chance to ‘upcycle’ old furniture around the home, using creative paint or upholstery techniques to give them a fresh lease of life.

But why should crafty hobbyists have all of the fun? Recycling is something that businesses have embraced in order to cut down the amount of rubbish they send to landfill, so why shouldn’t they grab the upcycling bull by its horns too?

Identify potential from your items

An upcycling business needs to apply the same creative thought process as the home-based hobbyist. Think about the following two questions: what do we need as a business, and what materials do we use currently?

Upcycling is all about spotting the potential to find a crossover point between the two, it’s about finding a way to create what you need from what you’ve already got.

Sound daunting? It needn’t be.

Old palettes can easily be re-forged into desks and chairs, even if they’re just creative pieces to catch the eye in an entrance way, while this article even explains how an old ladder has been reused for a fun bookshelf.

These pieces can be practical or they can help to make a statement: showcasing your business as one that cares for the environment and is creative, quirky and fun too. Think stationery pots, lamp shades, decorative artwork, homemade chalkboards, desk tidies. 

Industrial versions of the domestic upcycling techniques

Business upcycling projects require a subtly different approach from those in the home, especially if your aim is to make products with a practical use. It’s not just a case of reaching for a can of paint or a screwdriver.

Quite often unused industrial equipment only really needs to be treated properly to get it fit and ready for a new lease of life.

The type of blast rooms and processes used in blast rooms can help to prepare a surface for its new use, for example. This sort of process is also ideal for upcycling on a much larger scale – repurposing whole vehicles, for example, to bring them up to date to match a business’ branding and livery. It’s amazing what a fresh colour scheme can do, even to the most well-worn equipment around a business.

Embrace every opportunity

Upcycling is something that can be embraced in a number of ways. It could be part of an environmentally friendly outlook, a sign of creativity, the chance to involve employees in creative projects, a way to create practical items needed around the office or – if you are really enthused by the concept – all of the above.

Whether you’re focusing on your wallet, green credentials or staff morale, upcycling opportunities can be positive for your business.

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