Unintended Consequences: 10 Upcycling Efforts That Backfired and Did More Harm Than Good

We all try to help the planet with recycling or such; at least, we all should try! Jot all forms of recycling come in just putting plastic in a can and having the trashmen take it. A critical form of recycling comes in upcycling: using something for another purpose. While we may have good intentions, sometimes it backfires.

1. Coffee Can

Coffee container
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One forum participant thought it would be a great idea to take the empty coffee container and use it as a planter. While this is using it for another purpose, putting that plastic or metal into the ground can cause more harm to the animals and wildlife around it than the plant you are taking care of.

2. Saw Blades for Decoration

Saw blades
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This may seem a little harsh for normal decor, but some people thought that saw blades could make a great decoration for Halloween or Christmas. While it may seem like a great idea, damaging old saw blades can be awful because they do not make blades or specific tools that way anymore. With that, someone could be searching for the old part that you are destroying.

3. Epoxy

Epoxy floor installation
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People try to use Epoxy in a decorative way, but using epoxy in general is damaging to the earth. Epoxy is essentially a plastic and will never break down and will just sit in landfills forever. Additionally, epoxy can, if not used correctly, ruin things that it is being used to fix.

4. Clothing for Pillow Cases

Handmade knitted pillowcase
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Using many different materials could be nice when creating a covering for your pillows, but someone may be looking for the thing you just sliced up. One DIYer claimed, “My biggest guilt is using perfectly good sweaters for pillow covers. I purposely will shop for pillow covers first, but if I don’t find what I’m looking for or at my price range, I will thrift a sweater.”

5. Dying Glass

Painting glass
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With a leftover glass, you may think it is a good idea to get creative and put a design on it, but this may not help. Dying glass makes it so it can no longer be recycled, causing it to become useless trash. While you may use the colorful glass for a while, once it is thrown away, it becomes trash, just like everything else.

6. Books

Books in Suitcases
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Many people upcycle books into things like secret storage containers, which does a lot more harm than good. Something like this does not benefit anyone and instead just ruins a perfectly good book. This is even worse since the primary resource of books, paper, is being destroyed.

7. Wooden Lamps

Wooden Lamp
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Making a lamp at home can seem very fun and easy, yet this may cost the Earth. Most of the time, to make these little wooden lamps, people cut down small trees in the woods, thinking that they are doing something good with it when the tree should have been given time to develop and grow.

8. Anything With Glue

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When upcycling things, people like to use tons of glue and tape to make it work, yet those things are counteracting what you are doing. Using glue and tape is not suitable for the environment; instead, you are just making things worse, making it difficult to reuse or recycle later.

9. Cutting Sheets

Ripped old sheet
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Cutting sheets can be an enjoyable activity since you would be able to sew them together and mix and match. While this is a fun, creative way to use them, this is bad if the rest of the material goes to waste. Instead, finding sheets that may be torn up already is the best way to craft with sheets.

10. Reusing Old Denim

Reusing Denim
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Denim is one material in particular that can be used in a few different ways. One way would be to transform the jeans into a jean jacket, or the other way around. While this is a great way to upcycle denim, others tear it up to make ripped jeans instead. Once things like this are done, it is tough to undo them. Using torn jeans to make quilts would be a better way to use worn-out denim.

Source: Reddit.

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