MISSOULA- We've all heard of recycling but what about upcycling? That involves taking something used and making it better.
"It just matters that you take something that would have been waste and make it something cool out of it," said Upcycled owner Donovan Peterson.
Peterson began his journey as an upcycling entrepreneur at the beginning of the year. He began by making a wallet, out of an inner tube.
"I looked for like 10 years for a wallet and finally just made my own and that's how this whole company started. It's really kind of insane," he said.
But now his inner tube art includes an assortment of hand designed wallets, belts and purses. "These belts are superior to any other belt you will get in Missoula," he told us.
Over 70 artists ranging from 4 years old to 80 years old have now joined Missoula's upcycling business. "A lot of art. A lot of function. We have some funky stuff in-between," Donovan explained.
All reusing and recycling with their own techniques and trash.
"The beads on these earrings aren't beads-they're electronics," he said, pointing at a pair of earrings.
Every artist, and all material, is local. "Not too many shops like that around," he pointed out.
But the purpose of Donovan Petersen's store is bigger than that. " It's a good chance to have a conversation with Missoula about the world I want to live in and I think a lot of other people want to live in."
Customers are encouraged to bring in their own used items and drop them in a bin up front, either as a donation or to have your own personal upcycled goods made.
Peterson makes an array of goods out of used tires, including gifts for your furry friends, like dog leashes and collars.