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Renewable and Beautiful – What’s Not to Love About Upcycling?

12:55 pm

We all know what recycling is, and its benefits to our conscience, our pockets and our planet. But what is upcycling? And why is it not as popular as recycling?

In general, recycling is a reasonably easy process for us as users of plastic containers, glass jars and cardboard boxes. We put them in our allotted bins, and once a week (or so) people will come along and take them away – simple isn’t it? Well, upcycling revolves around the same exact concept of reusing items, but is a little more creative. With upcycling, the goal is to go above and beyond an items' general expenditure and create something that is attractive or usable within different aspects of life.

Let’s take an old, thick book for example. Its uses are limited to reading and the occasional fly-swatting tasks, right? Wrong. Why not cut out precise sections of the book through multiple layers of pages to make for an interesting and secretive storage device? You can store jewellery, money or general knick-knacks within the book whilst maintaining an attractive display. This may not be great for storing food or equipment, but you get the idea.

What does this have to do with me or my business?

Apart from promoting your creative side by adding general décor to your establishment, upcycling can really help out the environment. The UK recycled just 48.15% of all recyclable goods in 2018 – now that’s pretty poor. A lot of this waste comes from pubs, bars, cafes or restaurants that don’t have time to efficiently recycle. Instead of recycling or throwing away your lager, cider and wine bottles, why not create something new? 

A great example is cutting branded glass bottles (it’s better and easier if the brand is printed on the glass rather than stuck-on with a label) near the bottom of the spout to create new drinking glasses. These glasses can then be used to serve the same drinks that are on tap for a personalised sensation between each guest. - it’s simple, fast and makes for a great addition to your business. With this in mind, the glasses can also be used to create a mixture of cocktails. If you are hosting a themed night, let’s say Mexican, then you can increase your prices on cocktails whilst serving them in an upcycled Corona bottle. Whilst making you money through an increase in sales, upcycling will also save you on replacement costs. These glasses can be paired with attractive bar supplies to really spice-up your business.

Wine bottles, due to their size, make for great décor additions to any table top. It’s popular to provide guests with a candle-lit dinner or include a flower for your decorations. Decorative wine or puree bottles make for ideal tools to use for these two types of display due to the reasonable heat resistance of glass and the obvious liquid holding ability.

Upcycling isn’t just limited to reusing glass, but can also be used to create furniture from wooden pallets or other sturdy items. Pallets can be taken apart, reattached and painted in limitless fashion, allowing you to upcycle materials for use in your beer gardens, terraces or patios in addition to hard wearing outdoor furniture.

Displays such as these mentioned make for great conversation starters. Whether it’s between guests themselves, or between staff members and bar-goers – they are sure to create a great opportunity for social interaction.

It’s easier than you think

Not all upcycling projects take a long time to complete - take cutting branded bottles for example. If you want to make furniture, and make it correctly, then yes, you may have to spend more of your free time to achieve the results that you want. But that’s the beauty of upcycling; you are your own boss with projects, and there will always be something else to upcycle.

Aside from the obvious benefits of upcycling bottles and furniture for aesthetic value, it’s always best to invest in new CE marked glassware; not only for your customers enjoyment, but to help you keep a tight rein on your drinks measures.

How can upcycled goods be used to enhance your entire décor?

If you are reading this in hopes of revamping your entire restaurant, café or bar with upycled goods and designs, then look no further. Combining upcycled items with an on-trend appearance, industrial décor is an outstanding way to attract guests from far and wide. It brings together the old with the new and the extravagant with the simple.

Industry-based designs often involve bare brickwork, exposed pipes and vents. Now, this may sound expensive to perfect. But the reality is that most businesses will already have these features - they're just usually tucked-away behind plasterboard and layers of paint. You'll be surprised with the beauty that you can uncover. 

It's important to mention that industrial design is not purely limited to these mentioned features - that something a little bit extra is required to really top off your business's appearance. Galvanised chairs and stools can be paired with an old, upcycled oak table for a mixture of modern and classic designs that your guests are sure to love. Steel tables are also great for pairing with Galvanised chairs and stools if you are looking to fully commit to the workshop look.

Metal fans are great additions to dining areas, not only for their ability to keep guests cool but also add a warehouse design. Vintage lighting helps to secure an overall retro appearance due to their machine-shop design and ability to set the mood of the service. Why not use them with dark, painted walls and ceilings to really stand out and brighten up the dining area?

If you are looking to add a communal or large-party table to your business, then simply stain and varnish an old, upcycled table to match the Bolero benches and offer a variety of seating types. With industrially designed establishments, simplicity is key.

How can this help you make money?

This is difficult to gauge, as the profit you make is based upon the amount of guests that you serve. An opinion of your business' ethics is vital within the modern day - with a rise in the need for eco-friendly practices due to such shows as Blue Planet 2. So, it simply comes down to customers opinions of your establishment. If customers believe that you are playing a part in saving our planet then sales are sure to rise; making you a pretty-penny.

Upcycling has unlimited opportunities for creating new and interesting goods; see the beauty in items that others couldn’t.


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