Upcycling is the reuse of discarded objects or materials in a way that creates new products of a higher quality or value or utility than the original object or material. Upcycling is a form of reuse, and not recycling, because the objects or materials are not generally re-manufactured.
The practice of upcycling is as old as humanity. Our ancestors upcycled bone arrowheads into jewelry, and fur capes for adults into fur booties for children. Closer to modern times, our grandparents were champion upcyclers. During the Great Depression and world wars, many little girls had beautiful dresses made out of old calico potato sack material. In recent years, upcycling has blossomed into an art form. Children make wall displays of bottle caps, and professional artists use the bottles themselves!
Local Artist Wanda Lee
In 2012, Unique Rabbit Studios created a giant fish sculpture from plastic bottles found on local beaches.
Donating Items for Upcycling
Many local educators and artists can put your unwanted objects to good use. Please contact local schools and after-school programs directly to inquire. Here is a list of registered 501(c)(3) organizations operating in Fort Lauderdale to which you can donate.
Trash to Treasure has a mission to locate clean, re-usable materials and redistribute them as valuable artistic and educational resources. They benefit teachers and students directly through access to these materials and via programs and workshops to show how to use them. Trash to Treasure also works with businesses to identify items that can be creatively re-used, potentially lowering the businesses disposal costs. Contact them at: Trash-to-Treasure / Art Serve, 1350 East Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale 33304, (954) 623-0603, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like your organization to be listed in here, please contact our Solid Waste Coordinator at (954) 828-5054.
Try it Yourself
Did you turn that old tire into a table? Give that changing station new life in the kitchen? Make something cool out of old record albums, dishes or hangers? We want to see! We encourage our neighbors to try upcycling, and to send us your good ideas and pictures of your projects. Once we collect a few, we'll put them in a slide show on this page. To submit your project, just Share Your Success Story.