(SurvivalDaily.com) – What’s the difference between upcycling and recycling? Recycling is when you take used material and break or melt it down to be turned into something different. Upcycling is when you take that plastic bottle and reuse it, like keeping milk jugs to make and store kool-aid in.
You can upcycle many common materials and turn them into decorations, storage containers, and even survival items. I myself built a deck out of used pallets rather than sending them to be incinerated. I also use those giant pickle jars to make sun-brewed sweet tea.
All you need to upcycle is whatever you’re trying to use and a creative mindset. You can upcycle many different items and here are a few examples to help you get your creative juices flowing:
- Clothes Hangers: Do you have hangers with metal clips sitting around? Don’t just throw them out; instead, take those little clips off and use them as makeshift clothes pins for bags, etc. Some wooden hangers come with a metal hook that’s screwed into the top. You can easily unscrew this and screw it into a board on the wall and use the hook to hang keys or jewelry. Metal hangers are easy to bend and shape, giving them a lot of potential. They also make excellent pipe hangers if the exhaust on your vehicle begins to sag.
- Old Tires: There are plenty of ways to upcycle any old tires you might have. They can be used as planters, playground equipment, and even outdoor furniture. Since they are made of rubber and are waterproof, they can be cut up and used as shingles for a shelter. In a SHTF scenario, old tires can be fashioned into shoes as well. In fact, in many third-world countries, this is a common practice now.
- Old Pet Collars: Okay, this one is really simple. Old pet collars can be used for a number of things. Every collar your puppy or kitten has outgrown (maybe one belonging to a deceased pet) can be repurposed. These can be used as straps, hose holders, or, if the collar is the right size, it may serve as a bracelet or a keychain.
- Plastic Pill Bottles: These are great for storing seeds in, as well as crafting supplies like beads and needles. You could even use them to store fire-starting kits to help waterproof them.
- Soda Pop Tabs: You can also reuse those little tabs you find on soda cans. These are actually a lot stronger than people think and make great hooks to hang pictures with. Land & Sea Brewery shows you how you can turn a can tab into a fish hook at this link.
- Pool Noodles: Foam noodles are cheap and often end up destroyed after a particularly energetic round of water combat. But you can reuse them quite easily in a variety of ways, including softening sharp edges on furniture or placing them around the top of laundry baskets to create a floating basket for fishing.
- Tin Cans: These things are abundant and often thrown away with little remorse. Use tins cans as a container for growing plants. They can also be used to make arrows, pales, and scoops. One particularly inventive way to upcycle a tin can is to make a little stove.
Upcycling old items is good for the environment and, if done correctly, can create useful tools for survival. It’s a great way to get every penny’s worth out of something that would otherwise be discarded or recycled into something else. There’s nothing wrong with recycling, but why pay for something twice when you can just use it forever?
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