Upcycling Before Recycling
In a world where everyone is trying to make a difference, we find ourselves at times confused by terms and whether or not companies are truly doing their bit for the environment, are they simply branding themselves in a way to make a quick buck, gain popularity within the world of people looking to support brands that are making a conscientious effort to minimise carbon footprint? Now, the first thing we need to know is to differentiate upcycling and recycling.
What upcycling does is that it can have a profound impact on the environment that recycling doesn’t have. The effects of upcycling can be inspiring and the term is relatively new. It is the action of taking waste/unwanted products and transforming them into something new from its current state and better than it was before. This process of reinvention make the end product somewhat unique.
When consumers upcycle products such as boxes, cloth or other materials, it reduces the need to produce new products. And production is a large contributor to the world’s draining of our natural resources. In upcycling, unwanted materials given an extension in lifespan before it lands up in a landfill.
For example when we acquired unused material from a local theatre company that was used as a part of their set design, it was transformed into our oversize reversible, unisex top!
You can upcycle with us at YNG by simply contacting us to donate your materials or commission us to create something new from an old material you have and love.
Recycling takes a much lesser effort if there is a recycling servicing bin near you. It also uses much more energy and not all plastics can be recycled.
What is the process of recycling?
Recycling is taking old materials, break them down and turning them into totally new materials so that can make new products. What you may or may not know is, the impact on the environment of recycling is more as compared to upcycling as it requires a considerable amount of energy.
All in all, both recycling and upcycling reduces the amount of junk that goes to our landfill. As you do you and choose between the two, it is important to be comfortable with what you are doing and do it right. Before you sent materials to upcycling or recycling, make sure they are clean before you place them in your recycling bin or donate them.
Through researching for inspirations we came across Elaine and The Bra Recyclers. And found a more in-depth meaning to how basic necessities are not actually a given in so many parts of the world. With this, instead of creating upcycled products as we always do, we would like to be part of this charity drive for women in need.
Being fortunate enough to be living in a society where a situation like this is not a major impact to most of us, we do want to reach out as well if anyone in our community is in need. If you know of anyone who needs these basic necessities that we are collecting, please reach out to us.
We are partnering up with the lovely people from The Moon to collect these donations. You may help by dropping off your pre-loved bras in good condition to them at 37, Mosque Street. Or contact us directly if you have a bulk donation and we will arrange for collection from yours! All monetary donations will go to acquiring trustworthy shipment for our donations to be sent over to The Bra Recyclers and any remaining amount will be used to purchase new undies for them as well.
Our first blog features one of our favorite piece that can be very easy to make for beginners. This PU large tote bag has served me for many grocery trips and is still very useful! It's large and also deep enough for standing plants like the Dracaena Sanderiana. If you haven't sewn before, don't worry because everyone starts somewhere. You only need a pair of good cutting scissors, basic sewing machine (you could also do this by hand if there is no sewing machine), thread, ruler and a marking pen. The idea is to use materials that you can find already at home. They could be materials, shirts, anything. For a less waste lifestyle, we see materials out of items at home and use them to create. That way, we don't discard materials or leave them sitting and get to use the most out of what we already have, essentially extending their lifespan.
**Note that if you do this by hand, it would take longer than 15 minutes and will be needing little bit more patience! Also note that because we are using PU leather, a lot of steps have been shortened because this material does not fray. If your are using thinner fabrics or fabrics that might fray, the process will be slightly different.
This is a very simple way to start yourself off sewing. For us, we had PU, which is synthetic leather, that has been sitting around for a long time and we are using that so we are not getting new fabric to create this.
We like our grocery bag large and square. So we cut them into 50cm by 50cm square. Feel free to play around with the sizing of your bag.
Place the right (patterned) side of the fabric facing each other. The wrong side facing outwards, join three sides of the bag with plate marking of the sewing machine at 1/2". If you are sewing by hand, mark out 1/2" and handsew a straight line.
Cut out tiny triangles from both bottom corners.
Flip them inside out. Cut out shoulder strap of preferred length depending on where you like your bag to sit. Attach strap to bag securely. Sewing a square with a cross helps to lock better. This is also attainable with hand sewing technique.
We would like to see your creations! If this article inspired or helped in anyway, do let us know so we can think of more stuff like these to share! Our other tip sharing for a more mindful lifestyle is available on our IG Handle under [Tips] highlights.
Difficulty Level: Easy
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