We’ve all been there. On a Saturday shopping trip, you spot a gadget you know you can no longer live without. You part ways with your cash and return home to find … that you’ve no space to store your latest wheeze.

Getting rid of waste is the first step in making room for the new. It’s our sole focus here at Mayglothling, recycling customers’ septic and drainage waste so that just one in every 500 tons of sewage goes to landfill.

But what about old furniture, appliances and clothing? In the UK in 2013, we chucked 9.3 million tonnes of household waste into landfill. But the bin, skip and tip aren’t the only answer. It’s possible to do much more with your household waste by upcycling and freecycling. Let us show you how.

Get up

Many of the appliances, tools and furnishings that end up in landfill are perfectly reusable, if not for the purpose they were originally designed for. Upcycling is the art of giving new life to discarded objects. And it’s easy, with a bit of creative thinking.

With a lick of paint, that bedside table you no longer use could be repurposed as a coffee table for the living room. Upcycled, those tatty deckchairs at the back of the shed make perfect additions to outdoor parties. That collection of spare buttons you’ve never used? Use them to ensure you never lose your hair grips again. And what about your old t-shirts? Perfect for kids? play clothes.

It’s possible to give most soft furnishings and furniture a second life. With the rise and rise of craft as a hobby, upcycling has never been more popular. There are magazines and shops dedicated to the art – and even forums for those who buy specific items of IKEA furniture with the sole aim of upcycling them to look more expensive or be more useful.

What could you do with the unloved items taking up room in your home?

Get free

If you can’t find a new use for old items, someone else might. With the advent of the internet, a whole new marketplace opened for trading second-hand items for free. Unlike Gumtree or eBay, which act as online car boot sales, sites like Freecycle.org and FreeAds.co.uk enable you to advertise unwanted items locally, which viewers then collect free. In this way, the items avoid landfill and earn a second shot at life. It’s also worth thinking outside the box to consider groups and organisations who might need your items. Could your child’s school use that artificial Christmas tree you want to get rid of?


Avoiding landfill:
Upcycling and freecycling allow all manner of items to have a second shot at life

Online, the trick to freecycling is make it work for you. Keep your freecycle listings short, accurate and descriptive and include a photo on those trading sites which allow this. This should prevent other freecyclers posting multiple questions about the objects you want to get rid of. When it comes to collection, be specific about when you want the item picked up and don’t disclose more personal information than is necessary. And, of course, keep your eyes peeled for items you’d like for your own home. Sofas, televisions, tables and sewing machines are all regularly traded on freecycle sites – because one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Upcycling and freecycling are simple ways to do your bit to reduce landfill, as well as having positive creative and charitable effects. Have we convinced you yet?

To the trained eye, not all waste is waste. For help disposing of and recycling your sewage and drainage waste, contact Mayglothling. And for more tips on self-sufficiency, follow us on Twitter.