50 million plastic bottles are thrown away each day in the United States. They work themselves into just about every aspect of our daily lives. The examples are plentiful, from water bottles to laundry detergent, to how we squeeze out our honey. You’ll likely spot one of the 50 million if you do a simple scan of the room that you’re in.
Our dependence on them makes recycling and reusing plastic bottles essential for the health of the planet. So what can we do? Completing crafty DIY projects is a great way to minimize environmental impact and even save money. Check out our list of 20 creative projects to reuse and recycle empty plastic bottles and get to work.
Here Are 20 Ways to Reuse and Recycle Plastic Bottles:
1. Create Recycled Plastic Bottle Supply Cups
Office buildings are one of the leading contributors to the rise of landfills. So, after guzzling down a Mountain Dew to kick a 2 p.m. slump, don’t just toss the bottle when you’re finished. Make plastic bottle cups to house pens and supplies at the office, or craft supplies at home. Impress your coworkers and kids with your sustainable efforts.
2. Reuse Coffee Creamer Containers for Snack Storage
Who knew coffee could do more than fulfill a caffeine addiction? Reuse plastic coffee creamer bottles and make containers for snack storage. They make pouring incredibly easy, allowing you to take all types of food on the road. Recycled coffee creamers can also be used to store sugar, salt and similar products.
3. Make a DIY Plastic Bottle Planter
Cat planters from plastic bottles. Yes, this is a real thing. Spark your DIY spirit with a simple project that turns 2-liters into a useful and appealing indoor planter. Here are some simple step-by-step instructions for how to make a DIY plastic bottle planter:
- Cut the bottom third of a 2-liter bottle.
- Paint the bottle white or the color of your choice.
- Use parts of the rest of the bottle to cut out ears.
- Draw a face and other features on the bottle.
- Fill the bottle with seeds and soil.
4. Upcycle Laundry Detergent Bottles Into a Watering Can
Don’t pay for plastic watering cans. Make sure to keep your empty laundry detergent containers, drill or punch some holes in the cap and you’ve got yourself a new watering can. Feel free to remove the label so your neighbors don’t think you’re weird for pouring laundry detergent on your plants.
5. Turn a Milk Carton Into a Garden Scooper
The one area where 1% fanatics and 2% lovers can agree: save your milk cartons after use. One of the easiest and most useful projects is to create a scooper from the empty carton. Whenever you need to melt ice on your steps, garden your plants or even clean up after your dog, just scoop and toss. Check out this tutorial to turn a milk carton into a DIY scooper.
6. Start an Herb Garden With Empty 2-Liter Bottles
This project gets you extra green points. These can be cashed in for absolutely nothing. Well, maybe to feed your eco-soul. Regardless, upcycling 2-liter bottles into sub-irrigated planters is one of the more creative plastic bottle projects. Follow these steps to create an herb garden from a recycled bottle:
- Remove the label from the bottle and clean the inside.
- Take a sharp object and poke drainage holes in the top third of the bottle.
- Poke a hole in the side of the bottle about half-way down.
- Wrap a piece of paper around the bottle.
- Take a marker and trace a cutting line around the bottle.
- Cut along the bottle on the line.
- Flip over the bottle top and insert a strip of fabric.
- Make sure the fabric is in contact with the soil.
7. Create a Piggy Bank Made From a Reused Plastic Bottle
Recycling plastic bottles can save you money in more ways than one. Create a plastic bottle piggy bank and start cashing in on your craftiness. You can paint the entire bottle so the amount inside is a surprise. You can also leave it transparent so you can see how your saving is progressing. Simply put, this is a project that makes a lot of cents. Find out how to make a DIY plastic bottle piggy bank.
8. Upcycle a Lotion Bottle Into a Charging Dock
It will be a great day when cell phones no longer have to be charged. Or at least can get us through a three-hour Instagram scroll session. Until that day, we charge away. Make it easy on yourself and guests by creating a recycled cell phone charging dock. All you need is a lotion bottle, a marker and a box cutter.
9. Reuse Honey Bear Bottles by Making a Lamp
Teddy bears shouldn’t be thrown away. That’s more of a fact than an opinion. When you’re finished with a bottle of honey, get ready to recycle and reuse. Learn how to recycle your honey bottle into a honey bear bottle lamp.
10. Make a Beach Bucket From Laundry Detergent Containers
It’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel when a mounting heap of clothes is waiting to be washed. But as your washer powers through load after load and you come to the end of the detergent bottle, remember to stash it away for a rainy day. Similar to the scooper project above, it can be cut up and made into a beach bucket. So, there’s your light at the end of the tunnel: a recycled plastic beach bucket.
11. Recycle Empty 2-Liter Bottles Into DIY Water Filters
Have you ever been stuck in the wild with no source of clean water? Oh, you haven’t? Well, it’s still good to filter the water you drink. And you don’t have to spend big bucks to get a water filtration system that’s effective. Follow the video below to convert a 2-liter bottle into a DIY water filter.
12. Turn Plastic Bottle Trash Into a Trash Can
A trash-trash can. That has a ring to it. There’s no bigger symbolic gesture of going green than creating a trash can out of recycled plastic bottles. Make a statement and create a container perfect for outside trash disposal. Just don’t throw away your plastic bottles.
13. Build an Outdoor Broom From Recycled Plastic Bottles
If we haven’t already proven that plastic bottles can be recycled into just about anything, let’s settle it. Recycle a 2-liter bottle into an outdoor broom in just a few steps. The sturdy bristles make it easy to sweep up dirt and common outdoor items. Follow the video below for detailed instructions on how to build an outdoor broom from plastic bottles.
14. Craft a Lamp From Your Plastic Bottle Caps
We’ve given plenty of love to the bottle portion of plastic bottles, but what about the all-important cap? After all, it saved you from frying your hard drive and spilling on your new carpet. Follow this guide on how to make a plastic bottle caps lamp to complete one of the more time consuming projects in the list.
15. Make Airplane Toys From Shampoo Bottles
You can’t forget about the children. Keep them entertained during bath time with airplane toys made from recycled shampoo bottles. Talk about coming full circle. This project can be completed in a variety of ways, so use your creativity to paint, stick and glue different elements to the outside of the bottle.
16. Reuse Soda Bottles by Creating a Vertical Garden
Warning: You may need to consume 2-liter beverages to knock out this project. Reuse your soda (or less sugary liquids) bottles to create a vast and impressive vertical garden. In addition to soda bottles, you’ll need clothesline, twine or picture wire. Check out the step-by-step instructions on how to create a vertical garden from recycled soda bottles.
17. Create a Recycled Plastic Bottle Jet Pack for Kids
Waiting until the very last minute to find a costume is a Halloween tradition in many households. If this sounds familiar to you, we have the perfect idea to get your child ready to fill a pillowcase with hundreds of mini-sized candy bars. Create a plastic bottle jet pack and lift the Halloween costume burden off your shoulders.
18. Recycle Laundry Detergent Containers Into Toy Cars
Sometimes the simplest toys are the biggest hit with kids. Try this theory out and save yourself some money be recycling laundry detergent bottles and creating toy cars. You’ll need to save some extra caps for the wheels, and a big bottle should leave plenty of room your kids to decorate.
19. Reuse Plastic Bottles to Make a DIY Sprinkler
Who doesn’t remember the days of running through a sprinkler in the front yard? Make an easy DIY sprinkler with reused plastic bottles and recreate this memory for your kids. Simply poke holes in a 2-liter bottle and you’ve made it happen. You can also recycle ballpoint pens that no longer work for a more effective sprinkler.
20. Make Sure All Plastic Bottles and Products Are Recycled
While we are fully behind your crafty spirit, it’s likely you won’t be able to use all of your recycled plastic bottles in fun, creative ways. Make sure you have a plan to recycle all the plastic bottles you have yet to use. It’s a good idea to set up sorting bins or containers to make it easy on everyone in your house to recycle bottles and more.
Find More Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Impact
We hope you take on one or more of the plastic bottle recycling projects we’ve listed above. If you’d like to build on that momentum, check out our 10 steps on How to Reduce Waste at Home. You’ll be surprised how small steps can save you a lot of time and money.
If you completed any of our 20 DIY Projects to Reuse and Recycle Plastic Bottles, let us hear about it! Drop a comment below.