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Upcycling with C&B

October 20, 2023

Upcycling with C&B

Reuse, Recycle, Donate or Upcycle your wine related items

The festive period is sure to leave us with an abundance of leftover items to recycle or throw away, but have you ever considered upcycling? The Corney and Barrow Green Team have been brainstorming ideas to help everyone enjoy a more sustainable Christmas, providing many ideas on re-purposing household materials.

Below, you’ll find detailed just some of these great thoughts – with the crimbo limbo period blurring all concept of time, there is no better occasion to get your craft on and enjoy upcycling!


If your recycling box is bursting at the seams, there are plenty of other uses for your cardboard.

For those with pets, a cardboard box can make a great bed or playpen – a very cost-effective solution if your furry friend is likely to outgrow or destroy their box quickly!

If you have a cat, leftover cardboard can be re-purposed into a practical scratching pad. Simply cut long strips of cardboard and curl them into a circle, using glue to hold everything together. You can then paint the outer edge (with cat-safe paint) or cover it with fabric for extra style. If you really want to pique your feline’s interest, sprinkle some cat nip onto the cardboard as you work – we are sure this will be their new favourite toy in next to no time.

For home decoration options, boxes can make great storage solutions. To make a cardboard box more aesthetically pleasing, you can glue layers of rope or twine around the outer edge and line the inside with some fabric or an old pillowcase. If, however, you’re in lieu of a glue gun, but you do have some lovely wooden wine crates, tack them together to create a wine-inspired bookshelf or whatnot or simply paint them various colours and dot them around your home for handy storage.


Glass bottles are widely recycled nationwide, making it easier for you to have a sustainable Christmas. Most local councils provide domestic glass recycling bins (keep your eyes peeled for bin collections in your area during the festive period), or there are many larger glass bottle recycling ‘banks’ based in local communities. Of course, there are many ways you can upcycle your wine bottles, too, with just a couple of suggestions detailed below.

Turn your bottles into homely decorations by adding fairy lights inside the bottle (you can buy battery-operated wine bottle stoppers with a string of LED lights attached), giving an atmospheric glow to your room. Or get creative by painting the bottles; why not compete with your friends and family on who can produce the best-decorated bottle? The winner gets to display their artwork on the mantlepiece!

Of course, if you feel the bottle is already lovely without added paint, use it as a flower vase, or be retro and pop a candle in the top. You could also use empty bottles as easy water vessels for the table to ensure dinner guests stay hydrated – just explain to them that the wine you have provided for the occasion is indeed more flavoursome than ‘council pop’ if they reach for the wrong bottle…

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous and have plenty of bottles going spare (we are not suggesting, of course, that you have single-handedly drunk your way through these), create a wine bottle Christmas tree. An impressive festive statement piece you can use year after year, this tree at least won’t drop any needles.


There are many home decorations you can make out of old corks. From coasters to corkboards, you just have to put your creative thinking cap on. If you’re lacking some inspiration, here are a few ideas that might help:

Keep things festive and craft a cute cork snowman, reindeer, wreath or hanging decorations. Don’t forget accessories such as beads, buttons and glitter for extra pizazz! For something less seasonal, try creating some simple place name holders, fridge magnets or keyrings.

With the environment in mind, you could also take your corks outside. Use them as plant markers in herb pots to remind you of what you’re growing, chop your corks down to create plant mulch and compost, or create a cork birdhouse to hang up and encourage springtime nesting.

Finally, there are many charitable companies across the world who will collect your used corks and re-purpose them on your behalf. They will often send them to schools for arts and crafts projects or sell the corks and donate a percentage of the profits to chosen charities.


Our Christmas brochure is entirely recyclable, but we have some more fun suggestions on how you can reuse it instead!

You may have already spotted that our brochure has instructions on how to create a paper bow once you’ve finished with it. Great for popping on top of gifts or even around the neck of a bottle, the flashes of colour are sure to make your Christmas bows pop.

For smaller gifts, or if you have a lot of brochures lying around (we won’t take offence if they’re not all from C&B), use them as wrapping paper. This is a surefire way to make your gifts stand out under the tree, and let’s face it – the paper just gets ripped off anyway!

Alternatively, you can’t go wrong with a classic technique to help decorate your home: turn your brochure into paper chains to adorn your tree or living space. But maybe keep them away from the fireplace or hob…

However you decide to recycle or upcycle your Christmas leftovers, we hope we have inspired some creativity and encouraged a more sustainable festive period. With tremendous thanks to Sahdona, Fernanda, Steph, Katrina, Helen and Colette – the Corney and Barrow Green Team – for all their wonderful suggestions on how to make a naturally beautiful Christmas.


For more festive inspiration and shopping, visit our Christmas Hub.


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