Upcycling Community Project

Contributed by
Lizabeth Arum

Upcycling, or creative and unintended reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling, which involves converting materials and products into new materials of lesser quality, like converting some plastics into fleece. Synthetic fleeces, when washed, can release toxic synthetic microfibers into our environment where they are consumed by fish and other wildlife. Or these microfibers can bioaccumulate, concentrating toxins in larger animals that are higher up the food chain (see Microfiber Pollution and the Apparel Industry and Adventure Scientists).

Upcycling can produce surprising, charming, useful, and novel objects. The site Upcycle That curates and creates the best upcycling ideas, and Popsugar recently posted about 200 upcycling ideas.

The Challenge

This is an ongoing project. We invite students, educators, and anyone in the community to create upcycled Coca Cola or othe product projects. We ask that all models be uploaded to Youmagine, and include the tag “#upcycling.”

Some Inspiration


cereal box



Some responses to this challenge:


Salt and Pepper

To see the introduction to this project, go to the Upcycling Community Project.