Where to source free things to upcycle anywhere in the world

‘The world generates 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually, with at least 33 percent of that—extremely conservatively—not managed in an environmentally safe manner.’

Worldwide, waste generated per person per day averages 0.74 kilogram but ranges widely, from 0.11 to 4.54 kilograms. Though they only account for 16 percent of the world’s population, high-income countries generate about 34 percent, or 683 million tonnes, of the world’s waste.

When looking forward, global waste is expected to grow to 3.40 billion tonnes by 2050, more than double population growth over the same period.

Its so important that we are able to re-use and upcycle the things that already exist – as the saying goes:

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

We have complied a beginners list of useful places/ people you can contact (hopefully wherever you are in the world) to find free things to use in your upcycling projects – whether they be in the garden, home or to make gifts for family and friends. Hope they come in useful.

Local tree cutters for chippings and wood (they always want to get rid of their chippings and are usually happy to give them away for free

Builders merchants / companies– usually have some old scraps lying around that they will allow you to take for free

Neighbours– if you have a neighbour carrying out renovation work – they may have a skip full of goodies you could use for a possible up-cycling project.

Your home– as mentioned, we throw so much away without second guessing or thinking what else we could possibly do with the ‘waste’ – try and repurpose as much as possible- wash bottles, containers and jars to use to store homemade chutneys/ sauces. Re-use pots from older plants. Broken terracotta pots? Break them up some more and use at the bottom of new pots to help with drainage etc. We even repurposed a coconut shell to make some bird feeders for the allotment – we got our newly turned 3 year old niece involved who loved it and the birds are definitely enjoying!

There is so much we can re-purpose when we put our minds to it and consciously think ‘what else can I do with this’ before it goes in the bin.

We would love to see your up-cycled creations and hear your ideas for up-cycling/reusing and less wasting, so please do write to us or tag us in your creations.

Happy upcycling!


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