IN the midst of the chaos of 2020, many of us have been turning to old music, movies and books in a surge of nostalgia and longing for what is familiar.

Now it seems we are becoming keener than ever not to let any old favourites out of our life, with a new survey revealing Britain has become a nation of ‘upcyclers’.

Also known as ‘creative reuse’, upcycling is the process of rejuvenating or transforming products that are faded or broken into new materials or items that are of greater quality or value, artistically or environmentally.

Two thirds of adults surveyed admitted to eagerly fixing, customising and repurposing old household items, with lockdown affording many the concentrated time to do so.

The poll of 2,000 adults also found that the most popular items to revitalise are bookcases, plant pots and shelving, followed by bedside tables, desks and dinner table-style chairs.

And a third of those polled said that rather than just giving a new lease of life to items already owned, they actively seek out products to work their magic on, including old jars, mirrors and cushions.

More than three quarters of those polled on behalf of mobile network GiffGaff said they have even fixed up old tech items including phones and old televisions.

For 53 per cent, the appeal is transforming something old into something ‘new’, as they confessed to adoring the process of bringing items back to life, while 55% said they like upcycling because it saves money.

Many, though, said they are restoring old gadgets and gizmos to limit e-waste, with 83% concerned about the environmental impact of disposing of old tech.

A spokesman for GiffGaff said: “As the study shows, transforming old items has really taken off in the UK.

“And because there are many benefits it’s easy to see why – not only is this activity creatively fulfilling and money saving, it’s also fantastic for the environment because it reduces waste.

“Another appealing aspect is that you have something completely unique at the end of the process – which suggests people are perhaps tired of the same old offerings you might find in shops.”

The study also found eight in 10 adults ‘hate’ seeing perfectly good household items simply thrown away.

As a result, 72 % routinely try and find a use for old objects where they possibly can.

But half of adults believe upcycled items are more aesthetically appealing than items typically found in stores or online, while two thirds think they have more character.

Other popular items to bring back from the brink include armchairs and sofas, crates, bikes and light fittings, as well as ceramics, hat stands and old sinks.

The survey by OnePoll further found that 42% want to expand their repertoire by being able to fix-up a greater range of old tech.

At the moment, when a gadget breaks or stops working completely, a third will arrange for someone else to restore it, but 23% will simply throw it away and buy a new one.        

The GiffGaff spokesman added: “E-waste is a massive problem but the fact 83% are concerned about it shows that most people are aware of it, which likely wasn’t the case just a few years ago.

“Consumers are realising that tech items can still serve a purpose for someone else if not themselves. And this is important because the issue of e-waste is not going to go away anytime soon.”

Meanwhile, celebrities have been getting in on the act, even if they are not necessarily known for their DIY skills.

Loose Women TV presenter Stacey Solomon is among those to entertain her 3.7 million Instagram followers with her DIY projects, from overhauling an old bedside cabinet to buying a new toy mud kitchen for her baby son and decorating and repainting it straight out of the box.

Upcycling is a huge Instagram trend overall, with more than two million posts showing home improvements to everything from handbags to kitchen cabinets.

GiffGaff has partnered with content creators passionate about all things refurbished, recycled or upcycled to share their knowledge and top tips on their website at .

Discover the top tips here: