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Have You Tried These Fun Upcycling Ideas To Refresh Your Retail Store?

Adopting practices that reduce environmental impact isn’t only the responsibility of consumers. Retailers have a part to play too. In fact, retailers can demonstrate sustainable practices in fun and engaging ways, the most apparent being the use of upcycled materials.

Upcycling involves the renewal of otherwise discarded old objects or materials. Rather than throwing them out, they are repurposed ‘upwards’ in creative ways – from reliable furnishings to practical displays and stylish decor.

If you’re looking to incorporate sustainable practices into your retail business, upcycling is a great place to start. The main ingredients are some inspiration to spark your imagination and a bit of daring to give it a try.

Here are some examples for inspiration:

Vehicle tires

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Tires come in varying forms and sizes, depending on the vehicles they’re sourced from. From kids bicycles to industrial trucks, the possibilities are endless when it comes to how tires can be upcycled.

Apart from being highly durable as retail decor and furnishings, the shape of tires lends them versatility. Think wall clocks, large stools, table bases, wall-mounted product displays, and lighting fixtures as potential applications.
Modern day tires are made from both natural and synthetic rubber, which means that they contribute to increased deforestation, fossil fuel use, and microplastic pollution from their eventual degradation. To upcycle tires is to help offset considerable damage to the environment.


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The stacking design of plastic crates make them an easy material to weave into creative retail design. Use them as shelves, tables, drawers, dustbins, lighting fixtures or even entrances and you may find that they’re actually well-adapted to a wide variety of settings.

Like other forms of plastic, crates pose a threat to marine wildlife as a form of ‘ghost net’ choking hazard. Thankfully they’re quite hardy as upcycle materials and can have many lives through various retail setups.

Glass jars

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Apart from housing terrariums and light fixtures, glass jars can be used to create a more upscale appeal. In glass jars, dress accessories look beautiful. Paired with the right ambience, it’s a surefire way to level up the appeal of any fine item without too much effort.

Glass is unlike plastic in that it is typically not associated with single-use wastage, but in any case they tend to be disposed of just the same. Furthermore, the production of glass bottles consumes more energy compared to plastic and is a greater cause of pollution if not reused.

Other household items

Almost any non-perishable item or appliance in a household can be repurposed in imaginative new ways.

Of course it takes a special eye to be able to see the alternative potential in every mundane object, but it’s always worthwhile to ask if something can be upcycled before disposing of it.

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From egg beaters to clothes hangers, cups, spoons, trays, blenders, waste bins, rackets, toys, kettles, and every other random thing that comes to mind, there are numerous ways used objects can bring a retail space to life.

So how do we start today?

When retailers upcycle, they have an opportunity to produce threefold value. Shoppers get to experience something new, retailers enjoy cost savings, and the environment suffers less landfill accumulation.

Retailers can begin to practice sustainability first by reducing their carbon footprint. Where possible, they can showcase the creative reuse of items through upcycling.

From there, they can pursue other less conspicuous ways of going green in retail design, which include focusing on long-term energy savings through efficient lighting and air-conditioning, favouring recycled and biodegradable packaging, as well as finding ways to tap into renewable power such as solar panels and natural ventilation.

In what ways can your particular business upcycle materials and adopt other green practices today?