No matter how hard you try to make the most of your baby’s things, mindboggling growth spurts and chronic exhaustion work in tandem to thwart the best laid intentions. Even if you’ve diligently reserved perfectly good yet no longer necessary staples such as used plastic baby bottles and sippy cups for rainy day repurposing projects, any busy parent knows that far too often, that day is endlessly delayed. When you finally sit down in front of your computer to simply hunt down a few crafty ideas to set the wheels in motion, you can easily get sucked into a vortex of Googledom that rarely turns up precisely what you’re looking for. Well-intentioned planet-friendly parents of the world, consider this your one-stop shop for eco-inspiration. You no longer have to be mercilessly teased by your friends and family members when they peek in your “spare room,” only to catch a glimpse of towering stacks of empty baby wipe containers or battered and bruised bottles that you’ve contended surely must have more life in them. Beyond posting such childhood treasures on Freecycle/Craigslist, asking local animal rescue groups if they can use them for their furry newborns or going the extra mile by donating them to Third World charities, here are some additional alternative recycling applications that offer a decidedly landfill-free and practical approach.
Old plastic baby bottlesCreative and festive baby shower gift presentation
- Fill sterilized empty bottles with a handmade card, money, strips of contrasting tissue paper and then place a bow on top.
- Pour homemade bath salts inside.
- If you’re attending a winter shower, fill sterilized recycled baby bottles with homemade hot chocolate mix or powdered chai and decorate the exterior.
- Tuck tiny baby washcloths and other newborn accessories inside of multiple empty sterilized bottles and then anchor them together with a wide fabric ribbon.
- If you have a collection of old bottles that are a little worse for the wear, transform them into a decorative baby shower wreath or hanging mobile (filled with little baby trinkets) and camouflage their age with strategic paint enhancements, stickers, fabric, etc.
- Fill empty bottles with various types of paints so children are less likely to make a mess when they create original art works.
- Pour a vinegar/water solution inside and place by a hot grill to help extinguish any grease flare-ups.
- Baby bottles filled with household oil will make addressing squeaky doors, etc. a breeze.
- Keep a spare bottle in your garden supply caddy filled with homemade fertilizer and feed your plants accordingly. Ditto for indoor potted versions.
- Donate to local animal rescue organizations to aid newborn critters.
- With its automatic built-in measurement system, a baby bottle can be used to mix precisely the right ratio of oil or other fluids, whether you are working in the kitchen, on the car, dabbling in the arts or dying your hair!
- Use empties to make alcoholic shots as a gag theme for a party, whether you’re throwing a graduation celebration, bachelorette extravaganza or retirement event, or you just want to poke fun at a particularly adult-resistant guest. Just mix ingredients inside each container, replace the rubber tip and offer each attendee their own bottle. (Guaranteed to make at least a few people laugh!)
- Start seeds at the onset of gardening season by filling with soil and watering accordingly.
- You can also water garden seedlings with a spare sippy cup — they’ll be less likely to get smothered when you apply a controlled, gentle water stream.
- Root houseplant cuttings inside open cups.
- Use to neatly dispense glitter and other craft supplies.
- Detangle ribbon, yarn or string.
- Fill various empties with paint and encourage your child to tap into his or her inner Jackson Pollock.
Empty baby wipe containers
- Create waterproof, durable DIY flashcard sets to help children learn animals, numbers and the letters of the alphabet.
- Cut plastic containers into assorted animal shapes using an Exacto knife. Paint each figure with bright colors and turn them into a hanging mobile.
- Spruce up the exterior of several empties and present them as personalized baby shower gifts filled with wrapped gifts or other goodies.
- Place an empty container inside the family guinea pig/rat/mouse/gerbil cage filled with shredded recycled newspaper so they can snuggle inside for a secure little hideaway.
- Make customized, portable décor-matching catchalls to stash on counters, in the car or anywhere else where you’d like to conceal a mess.
- Encourage children to neatly store their Legos, puzzle pieces, crayons, doll accessories, flashcards or other small trinkets inside.
- Show your young ones how to turn baby wipe containers into plush beds for their Barbie dolls and action figures — use your imagination and have fun with it!
- Store homemade household wipes inside an empty container using recycled rags saturated with eco-friendly cleansing fluid.
- Who needs flimsy files when you can create your own seriously durable coupon tote (for the serious clipper, only)!
- Assemble homemade travel kits filled with emergency supplies — or use a separate container for each of the following themes: a) children’s snacks, b) car games, c) recyclable shopping bags, d) cold season remedies, e) outdoor sun protection. Martha would definitely approve.