What is upcycling?

You have probably heard the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” What does it exactly mean? It does not mean you grab someone’s literal trash and call it your treasure. 

It simply means taking an old, unwanted or thrifted item and transform them into a new and functional treasure. This process of transforming unwanted things into a desirable one is called upcycling. 

Many people are jumping on this bandwagon to save them money and the environment. While some are doing the upcycling, others are looking for upcycled items.  Agility PR Solutions has found that 59 percent of Generation Z and 57 percent of Millennials are more likely to buy upcycled products. 

One of the vintage shops in Omaha wants to share with you what upcycling is and why you should try or support upcycling. 


Upcycling takes an item that no longer has use and gives it a second life and new function. By upcycling the article, it is becoming more functional and valuable than it originally was. An example of upcycling is taking an old pair of jeans and making them into a purse. 


Contrary to popular belief, upcycling and recycling are not the same thing. Recycling is taking an item - like paper, plastic or glass - breaking it down completely and making a new item. While with upcycling, you keep the original form of the item and make minor cosmetic changes.


Saves you money

Trends come and go, but they usually make a return. There are thousands of items that could look new again with a little TLC. Upcycling gives people a chance to get the piece of clothing or furniture they want without breaking the bank

How upcycling works is you buy a piece of clothing or furniture that needs a little work at one of the vintage shops in Omaha. Then you can fix it, paint it or replace fixtures to match the look you were looking for.

Reduces textile waste

One growing problem for the environment is textile waste. The whole world tosses out 13 million tons of textile waste every year. An average person throws away 70 pounds of clothing each year. However, about 95 percent of that clothing tossed in landfills is recyclable. 

Instead of having old clothes wind up in the landfills where it takes years to break down, try upcycling. People are upcycling their old clothes to create new pieces of clothing. This process helps reduce textile waste.

Reduces water pollution 

Not only does the fashion industry pollute land, but also water. The fashion industry is the second-largest water polluter in the world. Rivers, streams and oceans are polluted by chemicals used for textile dyeing. These leftover dyes are dumped into rivers or streams that affect wildlife and human lives. 

Upcycling reduces water pollution. People upcycling use existing textiles and lessen the need for new materials to be produced. Thus, decreasing the number of chemicals that are being dumped into water sources. 


For all your upcycling needs, visit Thrift World! We have thousands of vintage clothing, furniture and housewares that can be upcycled into amazing items. There are four Omaha locations and one in Independence, Mo. If you cannot make it to our locations, shop online

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