A growing number of  consumers are looking for a way to be environmentally friendly with their purchases while still finding unique pieces that add character to their home or wardrobe. Snoqualmie entrepreneurs Rich Lancaster and Mark Howe may have an answer for such buyers: upcycling.

UpcyclePost, the duo’s brand new online marketplace for upcycled items, has given thousands of items a new life. Upcycling, which is the use of waste materials or unwanted items to create an entirely new product, has gained ground recently, something environmentalists like Lancaster deem necessary.

“It’s inevitable,” Lancaster said of practices like upcycling and more prudent consumption. “You can’t deny that things are changing any longer. So this isn’t just a trend, it’s a necessity.”

This perspective brought the site to life, especially after Lancaster and Howe, who have been friends for 20 years, began realizing how much waste that was sent to the landfill every day could have been reused. According to the University of Utah, half of the material that Americans throw out every day could be recycled. Environmentally speaking, this waste is incredibly damaging, pumping out 3.3 trillion pounds of CO2 gas into the atmosphere.

For the founders of UpcyclePost, making something new out of waste materials in a creative way may be one of the best strategies for moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

“You’re taking something that would have been going off to the dump and making it something of value,” said Lancaster.

According to Aline Bloch, an artisan on UpcyclePost by the name of AlinesCardboard, the site provides a unique setting to sell her goods.

Aline Bloch creates home goods out of upcycled cardboard. Photo courtesy of Aline Bloch.

Aline Bloch creates home goods out of upcycled cardboard. Photo courtesy of Aline Bloch.

“UpcyclePost is perfect for me,” said the artist, who creates furniture, home decor, and jewelry out of cardboard. “It’s not easy to find a good place online where your art can fit and be successful.”

‘”It’s addictive, gratifying, green, and so fun,” said Bloch. “I give a second life to waste materials, in my case, cardboard.”

Lancaster also believes the movement will be picking up even more momentum with younger generations.

“Millennials want less stuff,” he said. “They want to live more simply, but they still want high quality goods and uniqueness in each. They want to know where they come from and that they didn’t do so much damage [in order] to have this item.”

The uptick in responsible consumerism has been seen with TV shows such as HGTV’s Flea Market Flip, and other e-commerce sites like Etsy, but UpcyclePost allows the entire mindset to be consolidated into one marketplace for like-minded sellers and buyers.

Keep an eye out for upcycled goods going mainstream. As Lancaster says, joining in on the responsible fun doesn’t just mean joining another economic marketplace, rather, “you’re joining a movement.”