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Saturday, February 9, 2013


As a child of the seventies, I grew up being indoctrinated about the importance of recycling and saving the planet. I went home from school and dutifully told my parents how they should stop killing the earth. ( My father, the science teacher, explained that he was already somewhat aware of the laws of conservation.)

 I was so environmentally conscious that I even won first place in the conservation poster contest for my "Stomp Out Pollution" Poster.  It featured a big pink foot stepping on garbage.  Yeah... I was cool.

Since then I have spent years diligently separating my glass from my plastic, hauling cans to the recycling plant, and attaching water saving nozzles to my showers.  I even tried a stint at cloth diapers... that did NOT work out well.

But lately what I have been reading about is upcycling and green products.  Green products I understood.  I'm all for producing goods and products in ways that are kinder to the earth.  But Upcycle?  What the heck was that?  Being the smart person that I am, I consulted wikipipedia.

The goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones. This reduces the consumption of new raw materials when creating new products.

Whoa! Without even knowing it  - once again I have been on the cutting edge of environmentalism!  I mean what could be a bigger upcycle project than rehabbing an existing 1852 house?   As a matter of fact my whole house is filled with upcycle furniture.  Of course I call them antiques.

And I found out that I have been making "upcycle jewelry with my vintage buttons and bits and pieces of found treasure.  The jars that I use to store my treasures are "upcycled."  And those old sweaters I use for felting...the magazine pictures I cut out to use... yup- all upcycle!

Of course my Grandma Vida would have just called it practical  Her motto was:
Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Do without
Grandma and her entire generation already had the wisdom of upcycle, green products, and conservation.  Worn out shirts were "upcycled" into quilts.  Canning jars were washed, saved and "recycled" every year.  Buttons were clipped off shirts and stored in a jar.  Aluminum foil was smoothed out and reused. And "vintage" furniture was passed on to anyone in need. 
Maybe, just maybe, much of what we need to know about conservation, we should have learned from our grandparents. 
Of course I'm going to keep doing my part to keep the planet "green".  The "upcycle" house will be outfitted with sustainable bamboo floors, and earth friendly insulation.  My garden will continue to be nurtured with "recycled" compost and the shower heads will still be water misers.
But what's new is I will now be labeling my jewelry creations in my etsy shop with the hip new word, "upcycled jewelry".  Who knew I was so cool?
And if you want to take a look at more of my "upcycle" creations - visit the Sugarberry Home etsy shop!

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