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by C.J.

verb. /ˈʌpˌsaɪkəl/ to process (used goods or waste material) so as to produce something that is often better than the original.

Recycling your waste is great — but upcycling produces a reusable item without the energy needed to process recyclables. In the picture above, normally disposable toilet paper rolls are upcycled into a cable and cord organizer which can be used over and over again. Our pals at TwistedSifter have compiled a list of 50 Ways to Repurpose, Recycle, and Upcycle Old Things — check it out! Click below for some of our favorites and some more recommendations on how to upcycle.

Turn credit cards into guitar picks. Someone ought to turn this into a business — think of all the trashed credit card offers floating around a college campus!

Turn an empty CD/DVD case into a bagel holder. This is actually genius and I wish I would have thought of this earlier. TR! recommends: a great alibi for sneaking bagels out of Dewick. “I swear Grazia, it’s just a CD case!”

Turn an empty tissue box into a plastic bag dispenser. Because plastic bags use such a low-quality plastic, they can’t be recycled and this is a great way to reuse them. TR! recommends: use plastic bags as mini-trash bags for your dorm room. 

Turn a spare mini-fridge into a video game system extravaganza! While we certainly don’t advocate taking your gaming too seriously during the semester, TR! disposes of dozens of fridges at the end of each academic year and we would love to see them reused!

Turn a spare hanging shoe rack into a closet pantry. TR! recommends: use it as an organizer for trick-turned Hodgdon goodies!

Turn an old piano into a backyard water fountain. Okay, this is probably just a fantasy, but if you happen to have a spare, out-of-tune baby grand just lying around….