Jul 082013

We are all seeking new ways to reduce our impact on the environment, particularly in and around our own homes. Well look no further, this is one way you can be a seriously SUPERHERO sustainable gardener.

Upcycling is the new craze to hit our shores, it’s like recycling but better and can involve only a small amount of effort. In fact you have probably been Upcycling in your garden without you even knowing it!

But before I get into the fun stuff here is a quick definition. Upcycling, it’s when a discarded product is given more value by recognising that it can be reused in a new and different (and more exciting) way. This is opposed to recycling, or downcycling, which involves converting products into new materials of a lesser quality, thus diminishing the value of the original product.

Now here are just a few of the ways your everyday household waste can be given new life:.


  • Brighten up any planter by wrapping it in some bright old fabric. An ugly old pot becomes a proud table centrepiece.


  • Tin cans, paint tins, kitchen utensils, toolboxes… the list goes on! Many discarded metal items will happily hold a loved plant, while an old spoon bent into a hook can be used to hang your plant high. Again drainage is an issue, so if it’s possible try to drill a hole or two in the bottom of your planter. Or save yourself the time and just reuse a colander like the one pictured


  • By reusing those old jam jars and you can create a planter for cacti, succulents or even a fern. The only issue to mindful of is watering and drainage. Since they don’t require a lot of watering succulents and cacti are good choices for upcycled planters without drainage holes. The ideal way to go would be to add a centimetre or more of gravel to the bottom of your jar before adding your soil, so at least you will be able to see where the water level lies.
  • Create your own mini greenhouse by reusing old windows. A great way to protect your vulnerable herbs and veggies from winter frosts.


  • Even your seedlings can live sustainable lifestyles. Old egg cartons are a great way to start a veggie patch from scratch. You could even reuse the eggshell and plant your seed inside with some potting mix. Once your seeling has sprouted the egg can be planted straight into the garden.


  • Old tyres of all shapes and sizes can be reused in a multitude of ways in your yard. By creating a car tyre tier you have yourself a perfect pot for an ornamental plant. Though be advised, due to the toxins present in tyres planting edibles is not recommended.


  • Old faithful. Wood is a wonderful reusable item to add to any sustainable garden, because the opportunities are limitless! Old draws, wooden crates, shipping pallets, can be used as planters or shaped into one. You imagination is your only limitation.

By upcycling we generate less garbage thereby minimizing our impact on the environment, and we also save money where we normally would have spent it.

So rummage through those back sheds, retrieve junk during your local council clean up, and search through op shops, markets and garage sales.

Don’t just be a green consumer, be a green re-user!


Photo Credits:
Banner: Mary Trigger
Corriander collander: Natalie Manahan
Tyre planters: Natalie Manahan

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