How to upcycle products? 

Module 6.



Upcycling as a legacy

“Old people teach us how to make old things unique and beautiful,” says Maryna Vyshnevska, an English teacher from Kyiv, Ukraine.

She is using her grandmother’s upcycling techniques to redecorate old household items, such as tin jars and kitchen tiles.

These techniques are simple, good for environment and serve as a commemoration of her granny’s legacy.



“My battle is cleaning our planet”

“My battle is helping our planet to become cleaner”, says Ukrainian TV director Liubov Drozdovka who was practicing creative upcycling since her childhood. Liubov had to flee the war in Ukraine, and she orginized a small workshop in a refugee camp in the Netherlands, where she makes new beautiful items out of old sweaters and jackets.



Introduction to Upcycling

Upcycling is a process by which old products get a second life and are turned into a new product. 

Upcycling is reusing an object in a new way without degrading the material it is made from, unlike recycling which involves breaking down the original material and making it into something else, using more energy.

The end result is a new product with more value than the original value of the sum of all its components. 


Upcycling furniture

Upcycling has been around for centuries. Its success has not been based on aesthetics or sustainability, but rather on a lack of available materials.

However, upcycling can be restyling of unwanted items into something unique. It can be upgrading something that can be loved again, like painting a tired, dark piece of furniture into something with wow factor.


Upcycling in fashion

The energy required to upcycle clothing is much less than that required to recycle it. 

Upcycling prevents unnecessary waste from going into landfills. Reusing clothing reduces manufacturing costs and preserves natural resources.

Upcycling brings out your creativity and innovation. You can choose to keep the design simple or experiment with different styles and techniques


Upcycling as a lifestyle

Conny is making reusable shopping bags out of textile waste. She gives fabric a second life and creates unique and beautiful bags which she sells at a local market.

Conny also helps her customers to reduce plastic waste by carrying reusable shopping bags.

It is an example of how you can contribute to circular economy and support yourself with upcycling.