Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center 'upcycles' holiday gifts

BUFORD -- Since the day after Thanksgiving, people have been holiday shopping for loved ones and spending some big bucks on expensive electronics, clothes and knick knacks. Have you ever thought of creating a gift by "upcycling"? The term "upcycling" refers to the use of old, reusable or recycled goods to make something new and affordable to give as a gift.

The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center is holding four upcycling holidays programs Saturday and Monday through Thursday for families and children as part of its Green Holidays.

"It is estimated that from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, household waste increases by more than 25 percent," said Jason West, GEHC's director of development. "Our holiday wish at the GEHC is to inspire people to take a second look at gift items with upcycling in mind."

The program includes holiday-style upcycled crafts and recycling games. There will also be gift ideas to learn how to take everyday things and turn them into presents fit to sit under the tree.

Some of the items that can be reused are glass bottles, egg cartons, popsicle sticks, old wood and much more. Attendees can use their imaginations to create any thing they want.

"This activity is great for the environment and has the potential to extend your holiday budget," West said.

As part of the GEHC's Green Holidays, 16 contestants entered the sustainable gingerbread house contest last weekend and the grand prize went to Aubry Gehle. All entries will be on display until Wednesday.

"Obviously, one of our great missions (at the center) is teaching sustainability," West said. "One man's trash is another man's treasure as the old saying says. Many materials have more than one life cycle."