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Creative Ways to Recycle and Reuse Plastic Bottles

Assorted Plastic Bottle With Caps
By:Danielle Hanula| Last Updated:03/28/2024
Time to Read: 8 min

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Plastic Bottle Recycling Ideas

50 million plastic bottles are thrown away each day in the United States. Plastic containers work their way into just about every aspect of our daily lives, 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 currently sitting in.

Our dependence on these materials makes recycling and reusing plastic bottles essential for the health of the planet. So, what can we do? Try some of our plastic bottle recycling ideas for a great way to minimize your environmental impact and even save money.


18 Useful Things Made From Recycled Materials

1. Create Recycled Plastic Bottle Supply Cups

Office building waste is one of the leading contributors to the rise of landfills. So, after guzzling down a cold soda to kick a 2 p.m. slump, don’t just toss the bottle when you’re finished. Reuse the plastic bottles to make cups for housing pens and supplies at the office, or craft supplies at home. Impress your co-workers and kids with your sustainable efforts.

Decorated Supply Cups Filled With Art Supplies
Light Bulb Idea Icon

Bonus Recycling Idea: Upcycle Plastic Bottles to Keep Your Kids’ Crafts in Order
Keep your little ones’ playroom organized using a few old plastic bottles, zippers and a hot glue gun. Cut off the top of one 20 oz. soda bottle, and the bottom of another. Hot glue the zipper pieces to both ends and connect them to create your own makeshift colored pencil case.

Assorted Coffee Creamer Bottles

2. Reuse Coffee Cream Containers for Snack Storage

Looking for a sustainable way to organize your kitchen counters? Repurpose old plastic containers to save space on snack storage. Bottles 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

Love cats, plants and sustainable living? Creating a cat planter is actually a way to reuse plastic. 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.
White Cat Planters Made From Used Plastic Bottles
Person Uses Watering Can Made From Upcycled Plastic Bottle

4. Upcycle Laundry Detergent Bottles Into a Watering Can

Don’t pay for plastic watering cans. Another creative way to recycle plastic at home is to reuse your laundry detergent containers. Clean out your empty 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

Here is the plastic bottle recycling idea that both skim milk fanatics and 2% lovers can agree on: 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 plant something in your garden 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 plastic bottle recycling project gets you extra green points. Upcycling 2-liter bottles into sub-irrigated planters is one of the more creative ways to reuse plastic. 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 halfway 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.
Assorted Herbs Planted in Empty 2 Liter Bottles
Orange DIY Piggy Bank Made From Plastic Bottle

7. Create a Piggy Bank Made From a Reused Plastic Bottle

Repurposing plastic containers 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 savings is growing. Simply put, this is a project that makes a lot of cents. Find out how to make a DIY plastic bottle piggy bank with this guide.

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 even if battery life can get us through a three-hour social media scroll session. Until that day, we charge away. Make it easy on yourself and your guests by creating a recycled cell phone charging dock. All you need is a lotion bottle, a marker and a box cutter.

Plastic Lotion Bottle Pumps
Sand Castle With Little Flat at the Beach

9. 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 bright spot: a repurposed plastic container beach bucket.

10. 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? Lucky you. Regardless, it’s 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.

11. Turn Plastic Bottle Trash Into a Trash Can

A trash-trash can. That has a nice 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 other plastic materials inside it. This video shows you how.

Public Trash Can Made From Plastic Bottles

12. Build an Outdoor Broom From Recycled Plastic Bottles

If we haven’t already proven that there are multiple useful things made from recycled materials, let’s settle it. You can turn 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 this video for detailed instructions on how to build an outdoor broom from plastic bottles.

Hands Holding Assorted Plastic Bottle Caps

13. 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’s saved you from frying your hard drive and spilling on your new carpet. Follow this guide on how to make a lamp out of plastic bottle caps to complete one of the more time-consuming projects on our list.

14. Make Airplane Toys From Shampoo Bottles

Keep your kids 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.

Plastic Bottle Airplane Sitting in Snow
Plant Sprouts in Plastic Bottle Vertical Garden

15. Reuse Soda Bottles by Creating a Vertical Garden

Warning: You may need to recruit some family members to save their 2-liter bottles to knock out this project. Reusing your plastic bottles to create a vast and impressive vertical garden is a simple and low-budget way to beautify your yard. In addition to soda bottles, you’ll need clothesline, twine or picture wires. Check out these step-by-step instructions on how to create a vertical garden from recycled soda bottles.

Try Reusing Things You Can't Recycle Too

16. Create a Recycled Plastic Bottle Jet Pack for Kids

Waiting until the last minute to find a costume is a Halloween tradition for many households. If this sounds familiar to you, we have the perfect idea to show you how to reuse plastic while getting your child ready to fill their pillowcase with hundreds of fun-sized candy bars. Create a plastic bottle jet pack and lift the Halloween costume burden off your shoulders.

Kid Outside Wearing Plastic Bottle Jetpack
Toy Car Made From Empty Laundry Detergent Bottle

17. Recycle Laundry Detergent Jugs Into Toy Cars

Sometimes the simplest toys are the biggest hit with kids. Test this recycling idea out and save yourself some money by repurposing laundry detergent bottles to build toy cars. You’ll need to save some extra caps for the wheels, and a big bottle should leave plenty of room for your kids to decorate.

18. 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 to recreate this memory for your kids. Simply poke holes in a 2-liter bottle and hook it up to your garden hose. You can also recycle ballpoint pens that no longer work to get a more effective spray.

Plastic Bottle Sprinkler Attached to Fence

Make Sure All Plastic Bottles and Products are Recycled

Recyclables Sorted Into Different Color Bins

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 plastic at home for the items you haven’t used. 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.

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