Top Ten Tips: Upcycling your E-Commerce Waste

After being in and out of national lockdowns for almost a year, I think it is safe to assume that many of us has become a well acquainted with online shopping.

In fact, in 2020 e-commerce sales grew by 46%  compared to the previous year. This exponential growth seen last year is set to grow even larger in 2021. With a change in general public behaviour and attitude, it is believed consumers will continue to make purchases from the comfort of their own home.

However, with this growth in home delivery, we are seeing a larger volume of packaging. It can be difficult to know what items can and cannot be recycled, read our recent blog here to find out more.

A large number of plastics are not easily recyclable and often will be put on landfill where it will take hundreds of years to decompose. At Southgate we are focused on exploring all things sustainable that can lead us to a more circular economy.

See below for our top 10 ways to upcycle your e-commerce packaging:

Fancy Dress

Cardboard boxes and plastic wrapping is the perfect way to get creative and make a fancy dress outfit. Whether this is turning your child into a robot or creating a paper mache head to talk to out of pure boredom, you have all the materials you could want in front of you.


This can work for both carboard and plastic packaging. What with buying lots of new things you will be needing some extra storage space, won’t you? Well, look no further than your packaging. You can create larger storage boxes or smaller ones for your desk. The possibilities are endless!

Void fill for decorative pillow stuffing

This is the perfect hack for your outdoor cushions, which are constantly exposed to the elements. You can use items such as plastic air pillows, plastic bags or bubble wrap to pad out your cushions. The use of plastic instead of wool means that you do not need to worry about them getting wet and cumbersome.

Bubble wrap for window insulation

Another brilliant way to make use of any unwanted void fill is for window insulation. Items such as bubble wrap act as good noise and warmth insulation for your windows. Additionally, they can be used for sound absorbers in recording rooms.

Cardboard car

Another way to keep the kids (or adults) entertained is by making a carboard car. This could be as simple s knocking the bottom our of your cardboard box and drawing on some windows with felt pen or you can be elaborate with tin foil wing mirrors and racing stripes painted along the sides. Either way its a sure way to keep you busy.

Cardboard city

So you have got your fancy new cardboard car but you don’t have anywhere to drive it? Well look no further than your other left over packaging and create a cardboard city! With skyscrapers, houses and shops its a brilliant way to keep the children engage as well as a teaching experience.

Gift bag

You can upcycle so many forms of packaging to create the perfect gift bags. Whether its a metal tin you have painted for some jewellery or a carboard box you have personalised to create a care hamper for the person you’re missing the most this lockdown.

Jump rope

Have you got lots of unwanted plastic bags? if you thread these together it makes the perfect skipping rope. Finish this off with wrapping a thick tape at the top of each end to act as a handle.

Tote bag

Now, this upcycling tip will require some crochet skills with plastic bags. Don’t worry if you’re a novice, there are plenty of videos to help guide you. You also are not limited to just tote bags using this crochet method. You can create rugs, backpacks, bins and so much more. With plastic bags notoriously difficult to recycle these options not only help to protect our environment but also mean they have unlimited uses.

Baby toys

It is a truth universally acknowledged that baby’s love anything that is shiny, bright or crinkles. You can stuff padded toys with plastic bags to create the same crinkled feel and sound as other main stream toys.

At Southgate we believe there are so many merits to upcycling any of your packaging waste. In our movement towards a more circular economy we are striving to supply eco-friendly alternatives for all of our products. Check out our eco-brochure to find out more.

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