Most people around the country feel that we could do more to help protect the environment. Gallup reports that in a poll it conducted, only 44% of the U.S. adult population is satisfied with the efforts the country is making at preserving the environment. The good news is that there are many things that individuals can do in an effort to help make the world a better, cleaner place. One of those things is upcycling, which may seem like a new idea to many.

“The more we engage in upcycling, the better off the planet will be,” explains Sarah Scott Mitchell, co-owner of Neutrall. “Whether you find ways to upcycle on your own or you purchase items that have been upcycled, you can take comfort in knowing that you are making a positive effort for the planet.”

While most people are familiar with the idea of recycling, they may not be familiar with upcycling. While they sound similar, they are two different things, both of which help the environment. Recycling focuses on discarded items being broken down, and then turned into new, usually lesser-quality items that can be used. 

On the other hand, upcycling focuses on taking discarded items and repurposing them into something new that is usually of better quality than the original item. There are numerous examples of upcycling that can be found today, including chewing gum wrappers being turned into handbags. Neutrall also specializes in upcycling, offering designer glassware for the kitchen that has been made from discarded glass. 

Here are the 5 main reasons why upcycling can help change the world for the better, including:

  1. Reducing landfill trash. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the country puts around 146 million tons of discarded waste into landfills each year. It also estimates that the average person generates around five pounds of trash per day. The more unwanted items we can keep from the landfill, the better. Upcycling provides another stream of usage for unwanted products, keeping them out of the country’s landfills.
  2. Cutting down on raw material usage. The upcycling process uses materials already in existence, so it reduces the need to produce new raw materials. This reduces the amount of water and other resources that are used in the production process.
  3. Changing mindsets. When people hear that items are upcycled and they see them being used, they become more open to the idea of it. Making the world a better place begins with getting individuals on board with opting to make changes that will lead to the environmental benefits.
  4. Encouraging creativity. The idea of upcycling gives people something to be creative with. They can use their imagination to create new items out of existing discarded materials. Creativity offers many benefits that can make the world a better place, including problem-solving, stress relief, self-expression, etc.
  5. Putting desires into action. Many people say they want to do something good for the planet but may not know what steps to take. Upcycling helps them put that desire into action, whether they are creating something on their own, or purchasing products others produced.

“Anytime we can make the choice to engage in upcycling projects on our own, or to support products made from the process, it’s a good thing,” added Mitchell. “We all want to do better for the planet, and purchasing upcycled goods is just one more way that you can do that.”

All Neutrall glassware is completely upcycled and sustainable, from the initial materials used to create the glasses to the eco-friendly packaging used to ship them. The glasses are sturdy, compact, and Montessori-friendly. They are shipped in carbon-neutral packaging, there is zero waste, and each purchase includes additional carbon offsets that help to guarantee that it’s a carbon-neutral product. The glasses are made in the USA and are completely eco-friendly.

The first product launched by Neutrall is a set of two upcycled 8-ounce glass cups that are shipped in sustainable packaging. The sturdy and compact glasses are great for morning juices and drinks, and great for small hands. They are great for families, and to give as gifts for weddings and house warmings. Those who sign up to get the company’s free newsletter can save 12% off their purchase. To get more information about Neutrall or place an order, visit the site:

About Neutrall

Neutrall is a glassware company offering a product line that is sustainable, eco-friendly, and carbon-neutral. The glasses are completely made from upcycled discarded glass. The company was founded by a career conservationist and business leader, who believe that sustainability can be a part of every business model. The products are all made in the USA, and the company is based in Austin, Texas. To get more information about Neutrall, visit the site:

Photo courtesy of Michael Feinstein.

Michael Feinstein

Keep reading Show less
Gilles Toucas

Michael Feinstein will commemorate Judy Garland’s life on March 20 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Keep reading Show less

I think it’s fair to say we all want that #fitlife, especially with Spring around the corner — as well as Gaypril on the way. Whether it’s pool season yet or not, everyone would choose to look fit over not looking fit, if they could have it with a snap of their fingers. OK, the vast majority of us would.

If you’ve met me, or have been reading my articles, you know that I live, sleep, eat and breathe fitness; it’s my heart and soul. That being said, I’m here to tell you that the concept of “fitness” is oftentimes tragically misunderstood.

Before you get too aggressive with your goal for pool season, let’s dive a bit deeper into what fitness means on the inside versus what it looks like on the outside, and common misconceptions around this concept.

1. Beware of the cultural pitfalls and misleading information around fitness.

Most of the bodies you see in the media are probably not real, they just look very convincing. As a trainer who also moonlights as a photographer and Photoshop wizard, I’m telling you that it is incredibly easy to alter pictures in materially misleading ways. Once you know the tricks of the trade, the imposters are easily spotted. But that’s not what this is about.

The point is: to the untrained eye, it can be devastatingly defeating to see such impossible standards. It seems as though the cultural pressure to look a certain way, to look perfect, has spread all the way from runway models to fitness novices with the help of smartphone apps.

The truth is that we fitness models look that cut, and that lean for only a couple days at a time. That’s it! In many cases, months or even close to a year of training, dieting and programming all go into looking like that for ONE day. Let that sink in for a second. Day to day, I am less cut, less tan and much flatter muscularly than what you see in some of my pictures. That’s just the nature of the beast. So, when you have a bad day on the scale, in the mirror or in any other scenario, remember that we’re all human and that the most legitimate photos you’re comparing yourself against were from someone’s very best day. That should help to keep things in perspective.

2. Most people want the results, without actually doing the work.

Fitness is not six pack abs, it’s not superficial, it is not temporary and it’s not an isolated phase in your life. Further, fitness is not something you do for someone else, do to spite someone else or even to impress someone else.

Fitness is confidence, toughness, dedication, coordination, power, balance, speed, strength (both literally and figuratively) and persistence in the face of all obstacles. This includes control over your attitude, your mood, your sleep, your schedule, your diet and other aspects of your life. This means getting that workout in when you least feel like it.

It’s not easy, and it’s definitely a grind that has good and bad days. You must show up and keep working on the days you’re tired, stressed, rushed, defeated, doubtful, afraid and so on. The days you actually have to overcome something instead of just checking your workout off your to-do list are the days you have the greatest opportunity to really make progress, push your body and see the most improvement.

3. Fitness is really an internal mindset. The external physique is the fringe benefit.

I’ve said this time and time again, and it might sound strange coming from such an aesthetic-focused trainer, but you are not your body. Your body is a tool, it’s a means to an end, to express your internal mindset, belief system, discipline and dedication to your workout program. Your physique will come and go. Your strength will come and go. Your abilities will wax and wane depending on what you’re training for at the time.

The outside will, and should, be always changing, but the inside is what we’re really after here. Good trainers want to train you to believe in yourself when sh*t gets hard. We want to train you to be resilient in the face of injury, obstacles and other setbacks. We want you to set ambitious goals and shoot for the moon because you can get there with smart programming and relentless will (do yourself a favor and ditch the crash diets and the photo editing software).

So, as you make your spring preparations for swimsuit season, try focusing on developing a sterling, unshakeable internal character and the muscles will come along the way, this I promise you.

Keep reading Show less