Upcycling is taking something that has been used and discarded and making it into something new and improved. It seems to differ from recycling in that, in this case, the new object has more appeal or value than the original. Or maybe “upcycle” is just a sexy new word to help people market stuff made out of garbage?
Either way, I’m a fan of the idea. I feel like ever since I became a mother I’ve been in a battle with stuff: at times it seems my family does little more than make garbage. Vanessa Vadim, the creative genius behind the upcycling shop, Anthropocene Zoo put it like this, “No doubt becoming a parent reinforced and gave new vigor to my environmental activism. I became even more aware of all the toxic mayhem, lack of environmental regulation, and madness of our consumer society. Kids need so little, really, but we are urged to bury them in…stuff.”
So what has she done? She’s upcycled a gaggle of rejected, old stuffed animals into even more lovable creatures with names like Mew Tate. Vadim’s not the only one making toys and clothes out the dumpster-destined–there’s a whole upcycling movement afoot, and it’s very eco-groovy. I know this because I just spent way too much time scoping out gorgeous, inventive and/or hilarious baby items from the upcycling mecca, you guessed it, Etsy. Here are 15 of my favorites:
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