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Trend Of Upcycling Materials In To Gifts Continues To Grow This Christmas

The ReCreators, a group of artisans who run creative upcycling workshops, say they have seen a marked increase in the amount of people making the conscious decision to create their own Christmas presents this year.

Ger Tew, founder of the The ReCreators based in West Auckland, says 2020 has been many things for many people, but what they have experienced is an obvious increase in people choosing to create Christmas gifts and decorations from previously unwanted materials, rather than purchase new.

“It has been significantly more noticeable this year that, as a community, we are becoming more aware of unnecessary waste, and the detrimental effect it can have on both our wallets, and the environment.

“This year has been particularly challenging on a financial level for many people, and so we are finding that many of the people attending our series of free, Christmas gift-making classes are choosing to make their own gifts and decorations.”

Gifts have included plant boxes, wooden Christmas trees, decorations, natural cosmetics, jewellery, soft toys.

Ms Tew estimates that in the two years since they held the first workshop, they have diverted upwards of two tonnes of discarded materials away from landfill.

“Upcycling is the creative reuse through reviving old or unwanted materials such as textile offcuts, wooden pallets and old fences, and turning them into new products or materials of better quality, and better environmental value than the original.

“As well as ensuring that we are helping to reduce waste, as a group, we see joy in people who make with their hands, and which is something we have lost with fast consumerism.

“To date we have held around 430 workshops; and have had nearly 4,000 people attend our classes, and these numbers have been growing exponentially. In addition, we also have many children who regularly book in for 10 week after school workshops,” says Ms Tew.

“Children never question working with waste, but for adults, we do see them looking at materials in a more inspirational, re-awakening way – being allowed to reimagine and be creative is a positive force to be unleashed with adults in terms of their behaviour change,” says Ms Tew. “As a community we really need to think hard about how we handle our waste and unwanted materials in the future; and also, to consider not buying new as over-consumerism is certainly having a detrimental effect on our planet.”

The ReCreators hold community DIY upcycling workshops throughout Auckland, teaching adults and children how they can create new products from previously unwanted or discarded materials. They are running a series of DIY community events in the lead up to Christmas and in the new year.

In 2021, the ReCreators will be increasing the diversity of their DIY offerings, adding gardening and cooking to their workshop programme.

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