72°F
weather icon Clear

Upcycling reduces material use, landfill waste

As BCWastefree.com reminds us, “We’re doing our part. Are you?” Thankfully, our local sanitation company offers residential recycling, but what else can we do to help keep millions of pounds of waste out of our landfills? While recycling is one effective solution, it isn’t the only option. Upcycling is an increasingly popular, fun and creative way to repurpose and refurbish trash or found objects (objet trouvé).

It’s a trendy term in the DIY world these days, but in the sanitation realm, upcycling popped up back in the ’90s to describe converting old product into something of better use, quality or environmental value. It’s the opposite of “downcycling,” where used products are recycled into something often of lesser quality or worth. An example would be quality writing paper being downcycled to tissue or toilet paper.

With imagination and handy DIY tips, anyone can help the environment by upcycling. My Boulder City neighbor, Patti G., is a queen upcycler.

“My inspiration comes from seeing pictures in magazines and making my own version of them,” says Patti. “I’ll use old stuff around the house or free items in the neighborhood then build something practical from them that I could really use. … I mean, why buy a table when you could make one from a solid wood door left for trash?”

Here are some simple, smart and good-looking upcycling projects to get you inspired.

Old wood door table top: Patti simply screwed (from underneath) this vintage alley-find door onto an antiqued pedestal base whose original top lost its oomph. She sanded, then stained and sealed the door in a rich walnut color creating a shabby chic kitchen table.

Rustic window wall art: Vintage window frames are not in short supply in Boulder City with homeowners replacing them with energy-efficient windows. Hang the window as is, or screw a planter box or shelf to it. Paint and decorate it any way that complements the space. Arrange several of them together for a unique wall grouping. It works for interior or exterior design.

Posthumous thanks to legendary artist and local resident, Larry Gloege, for his Buddha Beer caricature, lettering and design.

Broken concrete fountain candelabra/planter: An old cracked Grecian fountain can become an enchanting yard feature. Whitewash the concrete to refresh the finish with water-diluted latex paint. Add things like plants, water and floating candles to bring romance to the garden.

Vintage suitcase end or coffee table: Vintage suitcases have great character. If you don’t have one in your basement, they’re easy to find in thrift stores.

Depending on the look you want, paint or polyurethane it, then fasten wood “bun feet” at each corner. Furniture feet are available in hardware and big-box stores, but you can find myriad selection online on sites like Van Dyke’s Restorers (www.vandykes.com). Many come with preinstalled screws for fast and easy installation. You can also stack suitcases, securing them together, to get the height you want.

Old wall cabinet potting table: Take an old wall cabinet, remove the doors and screw a recycled wood top on it to make a large and secure work surface. Use the open shelves to store garden supplies, pots and tools. It’s a handsome and functional addition to a shed, garage or against a garden wall.

Color crafted chest of drawers: A beat up chest of drawers is a treasure chest of endless possibilities. Imagine one in a girl’s bedroom painted with bold light blue and white stripes, and on the drawer faces, large fuchsia flower decals. Or picture an entryway cabinet painted high-gloss white with black-stenciled filigree flowers climbing up the sides and black wrought iron drawer pulls.

Upcycling projects will make you smile for a few reasons: Creating them are fun the whole family can get in on, DIY gives you a sense of accomplishment and it feels good knowing that you’ve helped reduce material usage and lessen the load in landfills.

Norma Vally is a seasoned veteran of home improvement; her career includes four seasons as host of Discovery Home Channel’s Emmy-nominated series “Toolbelt Diva.” A columnist and author, Vally splits her time in Southern Nevada, Los Angeles and New York City. Follow her on Facebook at Norma Vally “Toolbelt Diva” and visit her at www.NormaVally.com. Email Norma@NormaVally.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Modified Trunk or Treat set for Saturday

The 2020 Trunk of Treat event will be a drive-thru affair in Veterans’ Memorial Park with children and their parents staying in their vehicles.

Boulder’s Best: Spirited Halloween decor

Even though many things have been canceled due to COVID-19, the Halloween holiday is not one of them. Several familiar events will take on an unfamiliar feel this year.

Halloween cookie so easy to make it’s scary

Oh, the crisp night air, the warm apple cider, the pumpkins. Don’t you just love this time of year? For most families Halloween means the first big festivity of the holiday season. While all the kiddies love the creepy, spooky side of this holiday, I’m all about the food. You, too?

Scouts pay tribute to Gold Star families

When it comes to doing good deeds, the Boy Scouts of America have been helping individuals and organizations for many years. The assistance they provide often deals with military and veterans’ issues. A good example of that can be found here in Boulder City.

Amid pandemic, gardens help people’s spirits grow

Fall has started in Boulder City and even though temperatures are higher than normal and the pandemic is still around, the time is right to try something new. Like gardening.

Murals depict St. Jude’s clients’ hopes

Murals depicting hope, resiliency and healing offered at St. Jude’s Ranch for Children were unveiled Oct. 8. They were created during the summer by foster children staying at the Boulder City campus.

Tricks make preparing squash a treat

This time of year, I can’t go grocery shopping without coming home with at least one squash. This week I bought acorn squash and I’m in autumn comfort food heaven. Squash are in season, delicious, versatile, frugal and fabulous.

Telegram solved issue preventing statehood

We call Oct. 31 Nevada Day even though it might not be celebrated on that exact day. But it was on that day in 1864 that Nevada became a state.

Memorial honors shooting victims

Fluttering in the breeze at Veterans’ Memorial Park are poignant tributes to the 60 victims of the nation’s worst mass shooting.

Würst Festival moves online

Boulder City Sunrise Rotary Club is holding a weeklong online auction for this year’s Würst Festival instead of its usual weekend event.