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Upcycling: More Than a Buzzword


One creative 10-year-old shares her tips for reusing and recycling.

From Hashtag to Hobby

Officially coined in 2002, the word “upcycling” has become a trendy term prominent on social media platforms like Pinterest. But to 10-year-old Campbell Tate, upcycling is much more than just a virtual fad or hashtag — it’s a favorite hobby. Her passion began as early as kindergarten, when she decided to make a bracelet out of a straw. 

“It’s as simple as reusing a Trader Joe’s bag; you just reuse something that would otherwise get thrown in a landfill,” Campbell said as she showed off some of her upcycling creations: old jars she painted, flowers made of paper and an old Altoids container she decorated and repurposed to contain her headphones.

Simple Steps to Saving the Planet

Campbell’s conviction about upcycling’s importance is clear. “Our planet is getting destroyed, and people think that recycling or upcycling is too much work,” she explained. “If you start upcycling and reusing things, we can save our planet so that it will last longer. Every little thing counts.”

The young eco-conscious crafter shared several easy ways that everyone can help out: first, start saving and reusing grocery bags; second, save old jars to use as storage or to be decorated; and lastly, try eliminating plastic straws and invest in metal ones. These simple things all contribute to reducing waste in our environment.

A Little Goes a Long Way

Campbell already has an idea for her next creative project. She plans on making a doll house out of old cereal boxes. Although you may not get as creative as Campbell, she says that if you follow some of the simple ways to upcycle, it goes a long way. Emphasizing this point, she finishes on a powerful statement: “These steps will NOT be worthless. We need to help our planet and all of the creatures on it.”

Upcoming Upcycling Events

Join in the creative, waste-reducing fun at Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library’s Upcyle-Recycle for Kids series open to children ages 8-12. Click here to learn more and register.

  • Tin Can Robot Planters - March 19
  • Glass Jar Vases and Paper Flowers - April 9
  • Milk Jug Butterfly Magnets - May 21
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