Whoa, you don’t really want to slam dunk that perfectly shiny PET container into your recycling bin quite just yet, do you? Don’t get me wrong. It is fantastic that you are making a conscious effort to keep reusable material out of the waste stream, but there is another way that you can step up your eco-living just a bit. Prior to bidding one-time-use packaging an official farewell before it receives the final mega-meltdown treatment at your local municipal recycling facility, give various types of plastic containers another opportunity to shine. Yup, a bit of crafty tweaking will be involved, but that’s half of the fun.
What to do with a fully intact plastic beverage bottle
- Punch holes around the perimeter in order to conveniently organize and display earrings.
- Store balls of yarn or ribbon in individual plastic containers for tangle-free dispensing.
- Fit a single bottle with Hygienna Solo’s attachable nozzle and you have yourself a portable bidet.
- Layer bright candies inside for spill-proof party favors.
- Make a lawn or garden sprinkler just by outfitting a plastic beverage bottle with multiple recycled plastic pen barrels.
- Make instant ice packs that are ideal for picnic baskets, parties or first aid.
- Fill hundreds of old plastic bottles with rainbow-tinted liquid and attach them to an overhead frame for a surprisingly easy-on-the-eyes protective carport that is design- and planet-friendly.
What to do with a plastic beverage bottle (some modification necessary)
- Tired of pesky critters dive-bombing you at inconvenient moments? Then whip up an indoor fruit fly trap or an outdoor wasp/yellow jacket trap.
- Upgrade your bicycle with a handcrafted plastic fender.
- Fancy up a string of plain Christmas lights by shielding each bulb with hand-decorated plastic bottle shades. Your new-to-you patio lights will then add a festive touch to summertime grilling get-togethers.
- Make a kitchen funnel or multipurpose scoop using the neck of an old beverage bottle.
- Organize and dispense recycled plastic bags a lot more easily with this simple solution.
- Create a better resealable top for foods that are sold in plastic bags by crowning them with recycled plastic bottle caps.
- Add whimsy to your garden by crafting handmade, hanging floral sculptures.
- Green up a bare wall with your very own wall-mounted plastic bottle garden. You can also expand your urban gardening potential by creating a recycled 2-liter beverage bottle-hanging garden.
- Keep various reading materials within reach by mounting them inside a vertical recycled plastic bottle rack.
- Share homemade edibles with lucky friends and family members by presenting them in simple yet elegant-looking recycled plastic bottle packaging.
- Make recycled beverage bottle cloches that will ensure the success rate of your seedlings.
- Turn beverage bottles into recycled plastic bottle cord that can be used for multiple household and craft projects.
- Passively irrigate your garden for crunchy, juicy delicious summertime rewards (apply the same concept to indoor plants anytime you crave vacation liberation).
- Create lacy, incredibly decorative vessels like Caroline Saul. Hard to believe that old plastic can look so good!
- Decorate a window with a hanging triangular shade, a rectangular shade or a fanciful floral curtain (utilizing the reclaimed bottoms of oodles of plastic beverage bottles). Better yet, shield your entire window for optimum privacy.
- Organize small desk supplies with a handmade organizer. Craft supplies can be nicely tamed as well.
- Create a flower vase out of a recycled PET bottle that resembles cut crystal.
- A fashionable bracelet wrapped with fabric bits will keep you on trend, or, if you prefer, make a wider, bangle-style version.
What to do with other types of plastic-based post-consumer packaging
- Slap a magnet on the back of a plastic bottle lid, add some googly eyes and a smile on the front, and you have a cheerful refrigerator friend.
- Adorn a source of indoor light with the frosted glow of a recycled bottle cap shade or an ostentatious chandelier.
- Label this year’s garden varieties with waterproof tags crafted out of recycled salad clamshell containers.
- Wow your kiddies by showing them how to make hand-decorated eco-Shrinky Dinks, Christmas ornaments or simple glistening snowflakes.
- Melt dozens of caps into a decorative bowl.
- Tuck presents inside a homemade, treasure chest-style recycled plastic gift box.
- Try to recreate this rainbow-colored recycled elephant wall sculpture with your children.