Shares How to Create Opportunity This National Upcycling Day

Sustainability Is Cool Again And It Has Upcycling To Thank For It 

by Nicole Suydam (CEO & President of

Shopgoodwill Com Shares How To Create Opportunity This National Upcycling Day


With about 8 billion people on our beautiful planet, we have a tendency to produce mass amounts of garbage and waste which contribute to the growing threat of climate change. Many of us have taken action in our daily lives and incorporate the three “R”’s – reduce, reuse, and recycle – into our routine.

However, in order for us to be even more environmentally conscious, there is a fourth and just as crucial piece of the puzzle – upcycling.

The “U” is often forgotten, but it is the one that has caught the world’s imagination and can spark the most creativity. Upcycling is the art of recycling old, unused items into new, useful items, which encourages people to think creatively instead of just throwing items away.

June 24 marks National Upcycling Day, and here at, we’re excited to educate and raise awareness on the importance of this movement, while giving back to our community. 

What Can Be Upcycled?

As the pioneers of online sustainable shopping, upcycling has been at the forefront of our DNA for over 20 years, and we take active steps every day to educate our consumers about the importance of reducing waste and conserving our resources that otherwise end up in landfills.

Almost everything can be upcycled, and you can turn any sort of trash into treasure if you think creatively. From repurposing old jeans into shorts for those warmer months or turning vases into eclectic lamps, upcycling is a key component of keeping trash out of landfills, saving energy, and eliminating the hassle of disposing of unwanted materials and products.

Create Opportunity

Shopgoodwill Com Shares How To Create Opportunity This National Upcycling DayOur most recent effort to highlight this important movement is the #CreateOpportunity campaign, launched on Earth Day in 2023 to promote the idea that taking the simplest action can create opportunity for yourself, others, and even your community.

Upcycling from helps fund the Goodwill mission of helping people find and keep jobs within local communities throughout the nation.

By partnering with Ambassadors such as local California Artist, Ben Young, who exclusively uses recycled materials and thrifted supplies to create his artwork, hopes to celebrate and inspire those who think outside the box to upcycle and create special and unique objects. 

I’ve shared a few tips below to get started TODAY – remember to tag #CreateOpportunity when you post online for a chance to be featured on the blog and social channels! 

  1. Start small – this will encourage you to keep going and maintain interest and excitement rather than feeling overwhelmed 
  2. Between Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, there are a ton of ways to get inspired online by searching specific hashtags and fellow Upcyclers 
  3. Have a plan! It can be fun to go fully creative, but having a plan in place will help you successfully upcycle something that you will use again 
  4. Invest in the right tools (e.g. paint brushes, sandpaper) – sells all of these, so rest assured you won’t need to buy anything new
  5. Be gentle with yourself and know that mistakes happen, it’s all part of the creative process, just don’t give up! 
  6. Keep your eye out for upcycle-able products (e.g. at the curb, garage sales, thrift stores)
  7. Share your success online! The Upcycling community is an amazing one, and there’s nothing like a bit of online support to keep the hobby up. 

Together we can give our unused items a second life, therefore, creating opportunities for preloved goods and people in the community. Shopping vintage, upcycling, and giving back are all part of’s mission toward a more sustainable and beautiful planet.  

About the author:

Nicole Suydam, who served nearly a decade as Goodwill of OC’s vice president of Development, returned to Goodwill of Orange County as president and CEO in 2018. She has more than 20 years of management and leadership experience working with local and national nonprofits dedicated to meeting human service needs. Suydam graduated from Vanguard University in Costa Mesa and is the past president (2018) of its Alumni Association Board and is a member of the university’s Board of Trustees.