Upcycling, a term that was coined over 24 years ago by Reiner Pilz, gives “new life” to something that has “outlived” its original purpose.

In addition to lessening the amount of waste going into landfills, upcycling and repurposing:

  • Reduces CO2 emissions. For every ton of discarded textiles used again, 20 tons of CO2 is prevented from entering the atmosphere;
  • Saves you money. When you upcycle, you are creating something that you, or someone else, can use or need;
  • Promotes innovation and creativity; and
  • Preserves limited resources.[1]
Source: Visually

This month we have been providing you with tips on how you can have a greener, more sustainable holiday season. In our fourth and final piece we have suggestions on how you can repurpose common household items to create green thumb gifts for your favorite gardener.

Colander Planter Wind Chime.JPG
An old colander can be transformed into a hanging planter/wind chime.

Creative Planting

The most common gardening gift that can be created are planters. You can make planters out of tea or coffee cups, colanders, and old coffee pots/carafes, along with tea kettles/pots. You can also use old toys like wagons, dump trucks, and even hollow animals like dinosaurs or rubber ducks. All of these planters can easily grow succulents or a miniature herb gardens.

If your gardener is limited on space, you can create a hanging garden using shoe holders, colanders, bunt cake pan, 2 liter bottles and glass jars.

Wood Spoon Garden Marker
Garden markers can be made with old spoons, paint and a permanent marker.

Rethink Old Kitchen Tools

Old kitchen items can provide you with materials needed to create unique gardening gifts.

One of the easiest things to repurpose are wooden spoons. With a little paint wooden spoons can be transformed into garden markers or a wind chime. A wind chime can also be constructed using a colander.

Bird feeders and baths can be created using old teacups and saucers.


Give Garden Tools a Greener Life

Before you get rid of old garden tools, consider giving it a green makeover.

A shovel can be altered to create a welcome sign, trellises or bird house. 

Broken terra cotta flower pots can help planters drain, identify plants or create a fairy garden.

Breathe new live to old terra cotta flower pots with some paint!

Faded or stained terra cotta pots can be given a facelift with a little paint. Pots can be painted using acrylic or spray paint. Nail polish can be used to give a pot a marbled effect and is a simple project that you can do with kids. Chalkboard paint will allow you to personalize the gift by writing the recipient’s name on the post, write a message or label what kind of plant you are giving.

Giving a green gift for someone with a green thumb is as easy as using something you want to trash and rethinking how you can make it a treasure.

For other tips on how you can have a greener holiday, please see our previous blogs using the links below:

For tips on how you can have a greener holiday meal, check out, Sustainability Tips You Can Be Thankful For.


[1] The Positive Impacts up Upcycling