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Household Items – Reuse and Upcycling

Do you find yourself collecting wine corks, bottles, jars, and light bulbs because you are unsure what do with them? Instead of throwing them in the recycling bin, consider reusing your items by upcycling them! Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials into new products. Upcycling reuses an item and converts it from a low quality item (think empty toilet paper roll) to a more desirable, higher valued product (think gift box, wall art, office organizer, etc.).

Upcycling reduces the consumption of new raw materials when creating new products which results in additional environmental benefits like decreased energy use, less air and water pollution, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

This past Saturday, November 10, was AIRE’s Think Outside the Bin: Reuse and Repurpose Craft Fair that took place at Washington Lee High School cafeteria. We had a great turnout, and everyone seemed to enjoy our craft ideas on display and the DIY activities!

At the Fair, upcycled crafts were displayed made from wine bottles, wine corks, toilet paper tubes, egg cartons, acorns, coffee creamer bottles, soda bottles, packing boxes, newspaper, old maps, light bulbs, paint chips, scrap fabric, and old picture frames. These common household items were completely transformed into improved products to be used for decoration or a specific purpose.

As the holiday season grows near, there are numerous opportunities to create decorations and gifts using household items. Here are some ideas for holiday crafts that were displayed at the Fair:

  • Bottles: Wine bottles and other glass or plastic bottles are perfect for creating home décor! Simply clean the bottle thoroughly and paint it the color of your choice or wrap scrap yarn around the bottles. Once dry and complete, embellish the bottle with your own creative holiday style to decorate your home!
  • Acorns: Is there a seemingly endless supply of acorns raining down from your trees? Don’t throw them away—decorate them! You can use glittery or painted acorns as a centerpiece in a vase, or you can create ornaments for your Christmas tree.
  • Light bulbs: Do you have strings of burnt out Christmas lights? Rather than throw them away, reuse incandescent light bulbs again. Just like acorns, incandescent light bulbs can be used to make seasonal decorations.
  • Tomato cages: Outdoor holiday decorations can be expensive and energy inefficient. You can reuse a tomato cage to create a Christmas tree for your yard! Simply flip the tomato cage upside down, bend the wires into a tree shape, and wrap with LED string lights.
  • Newspaper: Why waste money buying gift bags this year when you can create your own from old newspapers? Click here for the instructions.
  • Wine corks: You can make your own Christmas trees out of saved wine corks. Use hot glue to make your tree then paint or decorate the tree however you like. You could also create cork letters to give to people as a gift!

Check out our Pinterest page for more DIY crafts and reuse ideas!





By: Ali Minarcik




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