Upcycling at Home During a Quarantine

Quarantines limit movement to contain and prevent the spread of communicable diseases like COVID-19. The practice of quarantining originated in Europe during the 14 century to protect coastal cities from epidemics. However, similar practices prevailed in Nepal within Newar culture as Pu-Chwo-Negu. Quarantining was common among caravan Newars who were involved in the Nepal-Tibet cross-border trade. During epidemics, these traders would quarantine themselves for several days depending on the nature of the job and epidemics. While this practice of Pu-Chwo-Negu has since disappeared,1 COVID-19 and the current quarantine reminds us of our rich cultures and life-saving practice - Pu-Chwo-Negu.

COVID-19 became a pandemic within a short period after its outbreak in late 2019. The term COVID-19 comes from ‘coronavirus disease 2019’, where ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus’ and ‘D’ for disease. As of June 11, 2020, it has infected over 7,458,921 around the world and claimed 419,020 lives. Social distancing and self-quarantining are said to be effective infection prevention measures. Given that this virus is still evolving and quickly spreading via contact with others and different surfaces we need to take care of our health and hygiene by making sure that we maintain 1 meter distance between ourselves and others, washing our hands thoroughly, and wearing a mask to prevent infecting others.

The biggest challenge in keeping a distance from others this way is perhaps how idle it can make us feel. So, why not take your old plastic bottles, cans, buckets, and even tires that you have meant to throw away and turn them into something new and unique to you? In doing so, you will prevent extracting new raw resources by transforming old products into new or better quality goods. So, here are a few upcycling ideas for you to explore as you spend time at home quarantining: If we lack the right perspective our valued and scarce resources could be simply waste. Let's have a good perspective on upcycling.

Up-cycling with Doko
Make your own COVID-19 mask:
Get crafty and make your own masks from old clothes to reduce COVID-19 infections. It’ll guarantee that you have a unique design and prevent your mask from getting mixed up with others. Plus, these self-made masks are more durable, and can be reused after washing. You can have a mask for each day of the week. COVID away mask inspiration: MASK.
Add quirk to your garden by making your flower pots:
A flower pot does not have to be limited to store bought containers made from plastic, earthenware, glass, etc. Simply use old plastic and glass bottles, tyres, tins, buckets, and even shoes to grow plants. Maybe even add a personal touch to them by decorating them yourself. Here is a link to some inspiration: FLOWERPOTS.
Save change by making your own piggy bank:
How many of us are used to purchasing a pretty ceramic piggy bank? Why not save some extra money by making your own? Paint an old bottle, paper mache or wrap a paper box, decorate a tin can, or use an old wooden box to store your change. This might even be a fun activity to do with children while they quarantine at home. Here is a link to some visual inspiration: PIGGY BANK.
Organise your desk clutter:
Do ever get stumped by how much clutter we can accumulate on our desks? Oftentimes desks just become a dumping ground for our books, keys, change, cell phone, scrap paper, you name it. Try to organize yourself by making your own book organisers that hold your books and stationary. All you need is some cardboard or a box (paper, plastic or wood). Color code them if you want to be extra organized! Here is a link to some inspiration : BOOK ORGANISERS.
Never wonder where your pen went again:
If you still need a little extra help organizing your desk, try making your own pencil holder. Decorate an old bottle or can, paper mache a paper roll, or just use a chipped coffee mug to put all your stationary in one place. You’ll never have to wonder where your pen went again! Some PENCIL HOLDER inspiration to get you started.
Stitch your favourite snack wrappers together to make an apron or shopping bag:
Most food wrappers cannot be recycled because they have a mixture of materials that are hard to seperate or are just too thin and unable to handle heat during the recycling process. But, when sewn together, plastic wrappers could make for a fun waterproof apron or shopping bag! APRON inspiration.
Repurpose paper rolls to make a self-made phone stand:
Oftentimes we don’t think twice about our paper rolls. But did you know that they make for great phone stands? All you need to do is add a base to help it stay in place and a bit of decorations to make it uniquely yours. Here is the link to some inspiration : MOBILE STAND.
Since upcycling saves resources, Doko works with local artisans to upcycle what cannot be recycled in Nepal. Take a look at Doko’s Tatwa Shop for some more inspiration or to support local artisans as they create useful and beautiful products that can brighten your or your loved one’s home like this Candlelight Centerpiece or this Rectangular Bin made from plastic food wrappers.
Our Tatwa Shop is meant to help you live a sustainable lifestyle. So you will also find other useful items like these Compostable Garbage Bags, Bamboo Toothbrushes, Metal Straws and reusable at Tatwa Shop.
Take a look, explore, get inspired, and tell us about your upcycling or sustainability journey at #DokoRecyclers.

Links to Our Shop and Products: Tatwa Shop Candlelight Centerpiece Rectangular Bin Compostable Garbage Bags Bamboo Toothbrushes Metal Straws

1. Dr. Roshan Shrestha, 2020. What is the reason behind forgetting your own knowledge to prevent Virus infections? Retrieved from rajeshshrestha2002.com.np/2020/04/blog-post.htm
2. Worldometers.info