15 Handy Uses for Plastic Bottles and Jugs

Photo (cc) by stevendepolo

Earth Day is on the way — April 22, to be exact. That gives you more than a month to dream up some ideas for making your contribution to protect the planet in 2016.

If you need a little inspiration, we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up some of the most frugal and useful ways to keep your plastic bottles out of landfills while giving them a new purpose.

Around the house

  • Drain declogger: Before you buy chemicals or call a plumber for a clogged drain, try Dollar Store Crafts’ tutorial. It shows you how to use a 2-liter plastic bottle to make a drain cleaner. You might already have the tools and materials at home: a sharp knife, marker, masking tape and newspaper.
  • Wasp trap: Apartment Therapy also uses a 2-liter plastic bottle, but this time it is for a wasp trap. A trap for indoors uses honey or sugar water for bait and a cutting tool and stapler. The trap for outdoors uses flat soda or sugar water for bait and requires a cutting tool, stapler and string.
  • Resealable bag spout: Cut the top off a plastic bottle, and you’ve got a no-cost pour spout that can be attached to a plastic bag of sugar or similar product to make it resealable. Apartment Therapy reports it’s air- and water-tight.

Storage

plastic bottle apples
Photo courtesy of Sarah Zimmerman / Repeat Crafter Me

  • Zippered containers: The blog Repeat Crafter Me offers an illustrated tutorial for a project that turns bottle bottoms into apple-like zippered containers that make great teacher gifts (see above). They can also be made in a variety of shapes and sizes for various purposes. You’ll need at least a zipper and hot-glue gun.
  • Cubbyholes: By simply cutting off bottle necks, Sew Many Ways created stackable storage for craft supplies, while Confeitaria Creative found a way to store shoes vertically.
  • Jewelry stand: According to Epbot, making a four-level jewelry display stand requires less than $4 worth of hardware-store materials — a 12-inch threaded rod, one bag of nuts and one bag of washers.
  • Office-supply organizer: A tutorial from the blog Stuff-n-Such requires you to use materials similar to those in the jewelry stand, plus a few others.

Outdoors

  • Planter: This can be done with seemingly any plastic bottle or jug in a variety of ways. The blogger behind Little Eyes on Nature needed only what appears to be a cutting tool to create planters that can be mounted.
  • Bird feeder: For a smaller, simpler option, One Good Thing by Jillee’s tutorial requires two wooden spoons, string or twine, and an X-Acto knife. For a bigger option, Creative Craft Nights’ tutorial requires acrylic paint, paint brushes, scissors, brads, single hole punch, raffia, twine, accents, waterproof paint sealer spray, glue gun and drill.
  • Non-electric lamp: A photo by Flickr user Listorama has circulated around the Internet. It shows a water-filled 1-gallon jug with a headlamp wrapped around it, shining inward. “I have used candles, headlamps, and at least one portable camping light to provide lighting … in camp. A drawback of all those tools is the glare,” Listorama writes. “This simple system is easy on the eyes.”

For kids

plastic bottle bracelets
Photo courtesy of Charisa McFarland / Charisa Darling
  • Bracelets: The blogger behind Charisa Darling calls the cuffs pictured above a “quick craft.” The bracelets require a scissors or rotary cutter, duct tape, tacky glue, permanent markers and fabric scraps.
  • Lawn sprinkler: The blogger behind Clever, Crafty, Cookin’ Mama made a sprinkler with her children using a push pin, bamboo skewer, swivel hose adapter and hose washers.
  • Piggy bank: Martha Stewart crafted a piggy bank with a hot-glue gun, double-sided tape, scissors and a pipe cleaner. Indestructible‘ tutorial calls for liquid nails, sharp blade, scissors, sandpaper, marker, paint brush and paint. There’s also a more-involved paper mache “puggy bank” tutorial from Show and Tell U.
  • Rocket-fueled jet pack: Doodlecraft’s tutorial calls for silver spray paint, cardboard, webbing, hot-glue gun and felt.
  • Tiara: This project requires scissors, tape, glitter glue and stencils available for free from Paper, Plate and Plane.

Do you have great ideas for reusing plastic bottles? Share them in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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