Here are a handful of the many great ideas out there for how to recycle those plastic bottles and their caps. Get inspired and get started!
Approximately 100 million plastic bottles are used and discarded every day, with 80% of them simply becoming non-biodegradable litter. While it is convenient to consume drinks straight out of plastic bottles, the trash that is accumulated in the process takes a huge toll on the health of our environment. Plastic water bottles have a significant carbon footprint, with the amount of water going into making a bottle being up to three times what’s inside the bottle. Also, bottles used to package water take over 1,000 years to bio-degrade and, if incinerated, produce toxic fumes.
Since reuse is a step up from recycling, repurposing plastic bottles we already have is an excellent habit to get into if we want to do our share to help save the environment. You will be surprised at how many opportunities for reuse there really are – once you start looking for them.
So when you’re done with that plastic drink bottle, don’t just throw it away, use it to make something awesome. Check out these 20 low cost, creative and functional craft projects that will transform the humble plastic bottle into everything from useful storage to great home decor.
DIY No-Sew Zipper Cases
Turn your old plastic bottles into useful and sturdy no-sew zipper cases that will help you organize your life, for almost no cost at all. You can use them to store all sorts of art and craft supplies. This is also an awesome back-to-school craft idea for kids. To make one, cut the plastic bottle, glue a zipper to it, customise the decorations and you’re done. You can learn how to make these creative zipper cases from plastic bottles here.
2. Soda Bottle Sprinkler
If you want to keep your outdoor plants happy but don’t have a sprinkler to water them, all you need to do is poke holes in a 2 litre plastic soft drink bottle, insert the hose into the bottle and wrap some tape to fix the hose to the opening of the bottle. Turn on the tap and the homemade sprinkler is ready to go. Learn how to make a DIY sprinkler to water your garden here.
3. DIY Recycled Bird Feeders
If you live in an area that has many birds, a strategically placed DIY recycled bird feeder will allow you to view the pretty feathered creatures up close and personal. Taking just a little time and very little money, you can make one out of materials you might have otherwise thrown away – a plastic bottle and a couple of wooden spoons. Here’s how you can make one in less than an hour.
4. Bottle Cap Mosaic
If you want a gorgeous and eco-friendly piece of mosaic art for your walls, start gathering plastic bottle caps. If you don’t have enough, collect from friends and neighbours. You don’t need to bottle up your artistic talent – open it up with this bottle cap mosaic, an environmentally-friendly craft project you will love doing. Here’s how to make one.
5. Piggy Bottle Bank
Not only does this simple project recycle a plastic bottle and make an adorable piggy bank, it also encourages kids to starting saving and recycling from a young age. Just cut the bottle appropriately and then have fun creating these super cute designs that will look great on your shelves too. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a pig; be creative and make all sorts of little animals! Get the instructions to make one here.
6. DIY Kitchen Storage Containers
Old plastic bottles can make excellent storage containers. Take back your kitchen space with this really cool and very affordable kitchen storage solution. Making repurposed containers out of your old bottles is fun and super easy, plus you could save yourself some money by crafting something you need instead of having to go out and buy it. A little time, a pair of scissors and the instructions here are all you need!
7. DIY Drip Irrigator
Drip irrigation delivers moisture directly to plant roots without oversaturating the soil, which helps the plants root deeper and grow healthier since they don’t experience moisture stress. Grab some 2 litre plastic bottles, punch two holes into the caps, and hang or plant the bottles next to the plants. Fill them with water and let the plants get the slow watering they prefer. Get the tutorial here.
8. DIY Magazine Rack
Love your favourite magazines but hate the clutter they create? Cut up old plastic bottles to make these functional newspaper and magazine organizers. All you need are scissors, paint, tape and a way to mount them, and your house will be greener and more organized. Here’s how you can make a magazine rack with individual compartments.
9. Vertical Hanging Garden
Vertical gardens are a great solution to many challenges within urban spaces and recycling plastic bottles is a great way to make one for yourself. Any number of bottles can be strung together and hung against a wall, a fence or a railing to create a garden. Remember to choose plastic bottles that are fairly thick and durable, such as soft drink bottles, rather than thin water bottles, which may tear under the weight of soil, plants and water. Here are some interesting ideas for a plastic bottle vertical garden.
10. DIY Plastic Bottle Porch/Party Décor
Create a gaggle of cute characters to perk up your outdoor décor by recycling old soft drink bottles. They are easy to make, great to look at, can store a variety of things and can help teach kids about the importance of recycling too. You can also use them to up the fun factor at your house party! Here’s how you can make these.
11. Pretty Plastic Bottle Flowers
Pull a few water bottles out of the recycling bin and create these easy yet stunning flowers. You can string together the flower-like bottoms of plastic bottles to create pretty curtains or make a gorgeous spring wreath for your door. Here are a few ideas for recycling plastic bottles into flower décor.
12. DIY Zero Electricity Cooler
Grey Dhaka teamed up with volunteers from Grameen Intel Social Business in Bangladesh to create the Eco-Cooler – the world’s first-ever zero electricity air cooler, which utilizes a perforated board and empty plastic bottles to create an instant and highly effective DIY air conditioning system.
To make an Eco-Cooler, cut a piece of board to the size of a window on your house. Then drill holes in the board big enough to push a plastic neck through. Gather some old plastic bottles and cut the bottoms off, then slide the neck of each bottle through the holes and secure them with the cap till the board is full. Hang the board on the window and watch the temperature inside drop. Here are the instructions to make one.
13. DIY Plastic Bottle Pet Feeder
If you have pets, then this is the perfect plastic upcycling project for you. This is an easy way to turn plastic bottles into a disposable device for feeding your furry friends. Just choose your bottles to suit your pets, preferably thick and strong ones. Learn how to make this DIY plastic bottle pet feeder here.
14. DIY Greenhouse
Here’s a great practical project for the whole family – turn used plastic bottles into a greenhouse, and then enjoy the chance to grow your own food once you’ve finished. A great way to turn trash into something really useful, this project is time consuming and takes a bit of effort, but you get an eco-friendly structure at a fraction of the economic or energy costs of a traditional glasshouse. Learn how to make one here.
15. DIY Mobile Charger Basket
Instead of tossing away those old bottles of lotion or shampoo, make yourself a phone holder for charging. Created from an upcycled bottle, this convenient caddy makes it easy to charge your phone at any outlet without leaving a trail of wire across the floor. Remember to give it your personal touch with some customised décor. Here are the steps to make one.
16. DIY Jewellery Stand
Here is a beautiful project to make a jewellery stand from plastic bottles, which looks great and can hold and hang tons of small jewellery for a clear vanity. And it doesn’t even take long to make. Cut the bottoms of plastic bottles, fix a metallic rod through them and see your craft turn into a beautiful jewellery organizer. Here are the instructions.
17. DIY Snack Bowls
Transform leftover plastic bottles into unbreakable snack or candy bowls for a party. Cut the bottom of the plastic bottle, use a hot iron to flatten and smooth out the cuts, and voila! A pretty bowl is ready for you. You can get fancier by add extra decoration to your bowls. Learn how to do it here.
18. Quirky Recycled Owl Vases
If you have some empty plastic bottles then it is time to turn them into these quirky owl vases. Use them as planters, flower vases, pencil holders, toothbrush holders, or anything else that you can think of. Here are the steps to make a cute little DIY owl decorations.
19. DIY Eco-friendly Ottomans
Instead of throwing out old plastic bottles make a custom ottoman for your home from recycled bottles. It’s simple and easy to do, and you won’t have to spend a fortune either on this project, which repurposes throwaway bottles into basic furniture. Here’s how you can do this amazing DIY project.
20. DIY Bird House Tree Decor
Try turning a plastic bottle into a cute decorative bird house! You can use any colour scheme you want and these little bird houses take very little time to create. Paint them or cover them with tiny craft flowers and hang them wherever your little bird friends may visit. Here’s how to make one for your garden or balcony.