Left: battered old chair Right: old chair is painted & seat is recovered
Thank you to one of our Irish Attic readers, Sam Marquit – independent contractor and green building enthusiast – for submitting the article below.
Recycling is an important part of conservation efforts and environmentally friendly lifestyles. However, it has a rarely used cousin that is even more helpful. This method is upcycling. It is the act of taking unwanted materials and turning it into something new. The materials used in upcycling are of less cost than new materials, making upcycling cost effective. As a result, it is has continued to rise in popularity, especially in the United States.
In 2010-2011, upcycled products on the popular shopping site Etsy increased by nearly 300%, a few months later, it had increased again by nearly 450%. The fact that upcycling seems to be gaining in popularity is great news for the environment. It is something we all can do to decrease the negative impact we have on our surroundings every day. The popularity of this is easy to see. I stumbled upon a really cool idea, “Restyled Folding Chairs”. All you need is spray paint, fabric, drill and screwdriver. Below are the steps:
1. Using a drill (or screw driver) unscrew the cushions from your chairs. (put the screws somewhere you won’t lose them, you’ll have to screw the cushion back in later.
2. In a well-ventilated area (I did it outside) spray paint your chairs and let them dry completely.
3. Cover your old cushion with new fabric and wrap it around onto the backside. Staple or use a strong adhesive to secure the fabric on the back. Tip: an even “greener” option would be to use repurposed fabric rather than new fabric. Maybe a curtain or tablecloth with a hold or stain or a skirt that you no longer want to wear but that would work great on your chair.
4. Screw your cushions back onto your chairs.
After: chairs are painted a glossy blue & recovered with recycled fabric.
Even big businesses, such as hotels, can use this concept to decrease their eco footprints. Las Vegas’ The Palazzo Hotel and Resort is a place that takes upcycling to a brilliant level. They have completely overhauled their practices and materials in hopes of achieving sustainability. They convert their trash and waste into energy for the hotel. They also have solar panels that power the various heating units. It’s work like this that earned the hotel the title of “Most Eco-Friendly Hotel in America.”
The real quality behind The Palazzo Hotel and Resort’s upcycling efforts is its self-sustainability and they are not the only ones turning to these methods to be greener and more environmentally aware. New York City hotels sit in the middle of one of the most densely populated areas on Earth. If there was any place that could make a big change by upcycling, it is New York. Some hotels there are leading the way into a greener future. The Earthcare program at ink48 Hotels is another example of responsible hospitality.
Regardless of how well self-sustaining upcycling methods work, there are always other ways to help. It is really encouraging to see large organizations and businesses practicing upcycling by turning unwanted materials into something needed. It’s important for more and more businesses to catch on and realize there is value in turning their trash into treasure. The Palazzo in just one example of the many hotels in Las Vegas that are turning trash into treasure. What an impact it would make if all hotels around the world followed suit!
If any Irish Attic readers have a project you would like to submit, please feel free to contact me at info (at) irishattic (dot) net.