Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – UPCYCLE!

By Sarah Smith, Adult Services

Have you heard about the upcycling movement? Like recycling, upcycling finds a new purpose for objects that might otherwise be discarded or thrown away, but an upcycled object is turned into something more beautiful, useful, or enjoyable than it was beforehand.

upcycling book

You might turn an old encyclopedia volume into an attractive purse or an empty glass bottle into a funky lamp. Upcycling doesn’t require complicated technical skills and can include projects as simple as turning an empty jar into a home for an air plant or wrapping a gift for a friend in an old map. The possibilities for upcycling are as limitless as your imagination! Carnegie-Stout has a number of books on upcycling that can help inspire your next (or first!) upcycling project.

Earth Day is an annual celebration that has been held every April 22 since 1970 to raise awareness about environmental conservation, or the protection of our natural world from plants and animals, to water and air. This includes the reduction of unnecessary waste in our landfills.

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to take part in the upcycling movement by creating your own upcycled artwork? Carnegie-Stout Public Library, along with Green Iowa AmeriCorps and the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency, is holding an Upcycled Art Show from April 17-April 22. The Green Iowa AmeriCorps team will select and announce winners on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22.

You can learn more about this event at

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