We’ve all heard the phrase “Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle,” but sometimes, even us eco-friendly individuals find ourselves with plastic bags, bottles, and cups that we feel bad for simply tossing. Because there is so much controversy over whether or not the plastics we put into the blue bins actually end up being recycled, it’s best to eliminate or re-use plastics if possible.
I saw an awesome video about folks in the Philippines re-using old plastic bottles (filled with water and chlorine) to make solar lights that brightened pitch black rooms! This eco-friendly solution to no longer living in darkness both inspired me and made me realize that there are tons of useful and creative ways to re-use plastic bottles.
1. Musical instruments
Fun for kids and adults who love music, fill plastic bottles with rice, beans, or other small items and use them as shakers. Also fun as make-shift drum sticks.
Add anything from water to sand to metal washers, and use as home-made dumbbells. Save money and the environment all while working towards your fitness goals!
3. Beach Toys
Yes, this sounds like a jenky idea but by cutting the tops off of plastic bottles of various shapes and sizes, you’re sure to win the next sand castle contest! Also known to save the day when used as a makeshift shovel if the ocean happens to wash away the kids’ plastic shovel.
4. Change Storage
Many of us often find change in strange spots in the house. Save a bigger bottle for change storage — you’ll be surprised at how much you end up with after just a few months!
5. Save Money
To save on your water bill, fill a water bottle up and displace the water in your toilet tank to decrease the amount of water used to re-fill the tank. Save water and money with each flush! A family of four could save an average of $90 a year!
6. Change Purse
By attaching a zipper to two sides of a plastic bottle, you’ll end up with a one-of-a-kind coin purse or super-original gift! Find more specific directions here.
Strung together, different colored plastic bottles can make a creative alternative to door beads. Use plastic bottles to put multi-colored Christmas lights inside to make awesome patio decor. Also, try decorating the outside of an old water bottle with paint, paper or ribbon and stick a few flowers in it for a unique vase!
8. Candle Holder
Cut off all but the top of the water bottle. Insert a long candle into the mouth of the bottle and you can walk while holding the candle and end up with hands that are hot-wax- and burn-free. (You might need to add a little tape,depending on the bottle!)
9. Ice Packs
Freeze 'em full of water and use to ice various injuries.
10. Arts and Crafts
The possibilities are endless. One idea is to fill the bottle with different colored sand and use as decorations, make a holiday scene and gift as an ornament!
These are only a few simple ideas of ways to re-use your plastic bottles! Some extreme projects of re-using plastic bottles include: plastic bottle boats, a plastic bottle island (filled with sand and actually inhabited by a very creative individual), a glass bottle solar water-heater (not plastic but creative nonetheless), and even a Buddhist temple in Thailand made of one million bottles!
The creative ways to re-use are endless! If you have other ideas, post a comment and share with your empowhered community!
And remember, although it’s great to think of ways to recycle, reduce and re-use, the most ideal situation is to avoid purchasing plastics in the first place!
28 Ways to Reuse a Plastic Drink Bottle | Trent Richardson. (n.d.). Trent Richardson | Practical Web Development. Retrieved September 10, 2011, from http://trentrichardson.com/2008/07/14/28-ways-to-reuse-a-plastic-drink-bottle
Howard, B. C. (n.d.). Photos of Recycled Bottles - Recycled Art - The Daily Green . Going Green, Fuel Efficiency, Organic Food, and Green Living - The Daily Green . Retrieved September 10, 2011, from http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/recycled-bottles-photos-460409
Reuse Plastic Bottles - Save Money Reusing Plastics - Soda Bottles - The Daily Green . (n.d.). Going Green, Fuel Efficiency, Organic Food, and Green Living - The Daily Green . Retrieved September 10, 2011, from http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/save-money/reuse-plastic-bottles-460709
Dollar Store Crafts » Blog Archive » Recycle a Soda Bottle into a Coin Purse. (n.d.). Dollar Store Crafts . Retrieved September 10, 2011, from http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2009/02/bottle-coin-purse
Reviewed September 19, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith