April 20, 2024

Teddy Peña, senior public relations major, shares steps on creative ways to save money through upcycling. Students can repurpose old materials to create new, useful items.

For college-aged students, the value of frugality and budgeting money is important. There are many ways to repurpose, budget and save money to make being a college student just a little bit easier. This includes goal-oriented shopping, intentional saving or even the cash envelope system.

One thing that is very common on college campuses is single-use plastics and packaging. This packaging contains the goods that college students use and consume daily. “Single-use” packaging means that the material used to hold a product is meant to be thrown away after one use.

Even though single-use packaging is designed to be instantly thrown away, that does not mean that is the only purpose for it. Over time, people have discovered creative ways to transform this packaging into useful and fun creations for them to have for a much longer time than their original designs intend.

Upcycling do-it-yourself (DIY) projects are unique and rarely cost much money. For example, we found an old plastic container that previously held dip, cleaned it out and repurposed it as a general container. This is a typical starting point for upcycling beginners where you can find any “useless” item and repurpose it. Other examples include cutting up an old T-shirt and making it into towels, turning a plastic water bottle into a plant holder or getting creative with an old tin can and making it into a tealight holder.

The beauty of upcycling is that you can put as much effort and money into your project as you want. If you want to spend money on paints and other special tools to personalize your craft, you have the freedom to do so.

For example, you can paint an old candle holder and make it into many things,  like a planter or a container. Have an old book you no longer need? It can be your next photo frame. If you have old newspapers or magazines, compile them and cut them out to create a vision board or mood board.

Upcycling is not only a fun and creative outlet that is useful and budget-friendly, but the practice of upcycling also teaches the individual about intentionality and “green living.” Once you start to upcycle more, you view the world through what can be repurposed and reused instead of buying into the one-time consumer mindset in which we are encouraged to throw away otherwise useful objects.

Upcycling DIY projects make creativity flow and add a personal touch to everyday items. Take photos of your upcycled DIY crafts and tag @cbulancermedia to possibly be featured.

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