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15 Ways to Reuse Plastic Bottles

15 Ways to Reuse Plastic Bottles

No matter how much I try to avoid plastic, I seem to always end up with at least one or two plastic bottles in my recycle bin. Sometime it’s a juice bottle, sometimes it held dish or laundry soap.

Here in the U.S., we generated 31 million tons of plastic waste in 2010 alone. That is a lot of empty soap and juice bottles! Of course, not all of that waste was plastic bottles, but anything we can do to reduce our plastic waste is going to help put a dent in that number, since 14 million tons of that waste was from packaging such as plastic bottles.

But, what about recycling plastic?

If you can’t avoid plastic, you can at least feel good about tossing that bottle in the recycle bin, right? Well…yes and no.

The trouble with plastic recycling is that it’s very inefficient. When you recycle plastic, you always end up with a lower-grade plastic. It’s more like downcycling than recycling. That’s why reusing your plastic is so important, if you can’t avoid the stuff. That trip to the recycle center extends plastic’s life, but it’s still landfill bound eventually, where it won’t break down for centuries. No good at all!

Rather than send your used plastic bottles through the waste stream, you can reuse plastic bottles in all sorts of fun, crafty ways! Here are some ideas to get you started.


plastic bottle lights

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by frankh

You can use your crafty skills to repurpose those plastic bottles into cute home and garden accessories. From lighting to window treatments, there are lots of cute ways to divert that waste from the bin!

1. Make plastic bottle lights. You can whip up a string of plastic bottle lights, like in the photo above. Just use a small drill bit to drill holes in the bottoms of the bottles, stick an LED Christmas light through each one, and hang! If you need to make it more secure, you can use a little hot glue to hold the bottles in place.

2. Create a chandelier. Got a big stash of empty bottles? Over at Dollar Store Crafts, Heather shows you how to turn them into a chandelier!

3. Upcycled vases. Wrap those empty bottles up and turn them into sweet vases for the table. You can use raffia, like she did at Zakka Life, or try cutting up scrap fabric into super skinny strips to up the recycled content even more.

4. Make a milk jug shade. If you have some plastic jugs handy, you can cut them up to create a mod window shade. Check out how over at Mother Earth News.

5. Whip up a hummingbird feeder. Turn an old juice jug into a homemade hummingbird feeder in a few simple steps!

6. Grow some food. Mike at Urban Organic Gardener shows you how to transform old plastic bottles into upside down herb planters.


Green Soda Bottle

From holiday decor to toys and organization, there are lots of ways to make those plastic bottles work for you, rather than sending them to the recycling center or the landfill.

7. Bottle purses. The bottoms of those two-liter soda bottles are perfect for making little clam shell purses. How sweet!

8. A repurposed ghost. Save an old juice jug, and this Halloween, you can transform it into a spooky (but very cute!) ghost.

9. Make an Easter basket. Instead of plastic Easter grass, you can use shredded paper from the recycle bin.

10. Amuse the wee ones. Turn an old plastic bottle into a discovery bottle to keep your kiddos occupied. They can even help fill the bottles up!

11. Get organized. Over at CRAFT, you can learn how to turn empty milk jugs into a craft supply organizing station.


Plastic Bottle Caps

Don’t forget those bottle caps! You can’t recycled them in most cities, but you can reuse them in all kinds of fun craft projects. Here are just a few.

12. Bottle cap art. Get inspired! You can create your own rubbish rainbow by collecting plastic bottle caps. Just grab your hot glue gun and arrange them artfully on a painted piece of scrap cardboard.

13. Make pincushions. How sweet are these miniature pincushions made from reclaimed plastic bottle caps?

14. Spin it! Get the kids, and spend a crafternoon turning old plastic bottle caps into tops that really spin.

15. Bottle cap ladybugs. This is another fun one to do with kids. Get crafty, and transform reclaimed plastic bottle caps into cute little ladybug toys.

I bet that you guys have done some cool craft projects with reclaimed plastic bottles or plastic bottle caps, so spill it! What’s your favorite way to reuse plastic bottles?

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Read more: Crafts & Design, Crafts & Hobbies, Eco-friendly tips, Green, Green Home Decor, Home, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Surprising uses for ..., , , , , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
4:46AM PDT on Oct 4, 2014

Treasuring our resources for the future

4:29AM PDT on Oct 4, 2014

I also cut them in sections, cover them with ribbons or strips of scrap fabric and use them as cute bangles :) They make great gifts for ladies! (Not my idea, I found it on the internet)

5:12AM PDT on Apr 30, 2014


1:10PM PST on Feb 21, 2014

Thanks for useful ideas.

3:33AM PST on Feb 19, 2014

good ideas

4:27PM PST on Feb 17, 2014

Thank you, many great ideas, now I got inspired again.

11:50AM PST on Feb 16, 2014

The light idea is really cool

5:20PM PST on Feb 13, 2014

Cool, thanks.

6:24AM PST on Feb 6, 2014

Thank you

4:26PM PST on Feb 3, 2014

like lights and garden

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Well I guess there are other compelling reasons to not eat fast food other than it really is nothing…

Thanks for posting.

Cannot stop catalogs, I tried- recycle them.

This sounds just a bit too new agey for me, sorry.

All good. Thank you.


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