September 20

7 Ways to Reuse Plastic Water Bottles


If your family is anything like ours, we go through a lot of plastic bottles. We try hard to be conscious of what’s going on in the environment, which is why we’re dedicated to reusing plastic water bottles where we can. I wanted to share 7 Ways to Reuse Plastic Water Bottles.

#1. Use them as organizational tools– You can cut the top off of plastic water bottles and make amazing organizational creations out of them. These plastic water bottles can hold anything from pencils to baking cups, just use your imagination in what you want to organize. Use the “cut off” tops as funnels for cooking, baking, or doing work on the car.


#2. Decorations– If you scour Pinterest, there are all kinds of awesome decorations you can make with plastic water bottles. This is an awesome idea to help you reuse all of those plastic water bottles. You can make anything from a bottle light to wall decoration. The power of plastic water bottle décor is in your hands.

Related—> 10 Kitchen Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

#3. Kiddy creations– If there’s one thing you can do with used plastic water bottles it is create things for your kids. You can make something as simple as a time out bottle. Using glitter, tacky glue, and water, you can create a time out bottle for your child to use while they are in time out. You can even go as crazy as making a lava lamp out of a plastic water bottle.


#4. DIY crafts– Think about the endless possibilities of using plastic water bottles to create DIY crafts. Some people go as extreme as creating fun jewelry out of their water bottles. Whatever craft you choose to create with your plastic water bottles, have fun with it.


#5. Refill the water bottles– To keep yourself from having to buy new water bottles every week, just refill what you already have. Filtering tap water directly into used plastic water bottles helps to save so much when it comes to the environment.

#6. For the garden– Who would have thought that you could reuse plastic water bottles for the garden, but you can. Cut off the top of the bottle and use the plastic water bottles to start basic plants for the garden. After the seeds sprout, you can transfer them to the garden. You can keep using the plastic water bottles for herb like plants.


#7. Create a barrier- With as many water bottles as your family uses, consider getting creative and using them as a barrier or as a wall décor. You can tie the bottles together to create an awesome looking wall. If you’re really up for making it look incredible, paint the bottles different colors.

What ways have you reused plastic water bottles in the past?

7 Ways to Reuse Plastic Water Bottles

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What are some creative ways I can reuse an empty plastic water bottle?

    Empty plastic water bottles can be given new life through various creative reuse and repurposing projects. With a little imagination, you can transform these common waste items into handy tools and decorations.

    One of the easiest reuse ideas for a plastic bottle is to create a portable container. Remove the label, cut the bottle to desired size, and decorate it with paint or decorative paper to make containers for storing small items like office supplies, sewing kits, first-aid materials, tools, art supplies and more. You can make dividers and compartments by hot gluing together multiple cut bottles. Add handles using rope or cord to make portable organizing caddies.

    Water bottles can also be up-cycled into dispensers, vases and even garden plants pots. Paint the outside or wrap with string lights to make festive holiday decor. Install a spray nozzle to use as plant watering bottles. Use colored bottles filled with various materials like beads or marbles to make hanging window decorations that catch and refract light.

    If you’re doing crafts with kids, water bottles can be transformed into musical shakers, piggy banks, pencil holders, and stamps shaped like stars and hearts. Help young kids make their own bowling game by using empty plastic bottles as reusable bowling pins.

    For outdoor and camping use, you can cut water bottles in half with the spout intact to make portable funnels for transferring liquids or improvised scoops. Leave an inch uncut at the base and flip it over after cutting to make a storage container with lid.

    With some simple handy work, you can up-cycle plastic bottles that would otherwise be tossed in the trash into practical and even beautiful repurposed creations. Let your imagination run wild to find creative new uses for these bottles!

  • Can I make a bird feeder out of a plastic water bottle? How?

    Plastic water bottles make excellent DIY bird feeders that can help supplement birds’ diets while allowing you to observe them up close from your home. Making a simple bird feeder from a used plastic bottle also gives it renewed purpose rather than sending it to the landfill. With a few basic craft supplies and tools, you’ll have a new bird feeder ready to hang in no time.

    Start by removing the plastic wrapper and label from a clean, empty plastic water or soda bottle – 16 to 20 ounces works best. Make sure it has a cap with an attached strap ring that can be used for hanging. Thoroughly wash and dry the bottle.

    Using a hobby knife, carefully cut a large rectangle about 2 inches wide and 3 to 4 inches tall on the side of the bottle, stopping about an inch above the bottom so the bottle remains intact. This window will allow birds to access the seed and provide you visibility.

    Next, make several small drainage holes using the hobby knife by puncturing the bottle’s bottom. Add 3 to 5 holes to allow rainwater drainage so seed doesn’t get soggy and rot.

    Place a twig, stick or wooden dowel through the bottle lengthwise – this gives small birds like finches something to perch on. Wooden craft dowels with a diameter less than 1/4 inch work perfectly. Adjust the dowel so birds can comfortably sit on it outside the seed access window you cut earlier.

    Now simply fill the bottle 1/3 to halfway full with wild bird seed mix you can purchase from any pet supply store. Cap the top and use rope, twine or hanging plant rings to string the feeder up in your yard. Ideal hanging spots include trees, eaves, fences or poles with foliage that provides birds shelter and camouflage from predators.

    You now have a quality DIY bird feeder made entirely of a plastic bottle that was headed for the recycling bin. As the seed empties, simply open the cap and pour in more. And enjoy observing your bright new feathered friends visit daily for tasty seed! Adjust height based on comfort level of birds and squirrel accessibility.

  • Is it safe to reuse plastic water bottles for drinking water or should I only use them for non-food purposes?

    When it comes to reusing plastic water bottles, there are some health and safety factors to consider before opting to refill them with drinking water. While using them for arts and crafts or other non-food purposes poses little risk, reusing them to store consumable beverages merits more research.

    According to the FDA, plastic water bottles intended for single use only should not be reused. This is because plastic bottles degrade over time through wear and tear, exposure to heat and sunlight, and from being washed. Tiny cracks in the plastic can develop where bacteria and mold can more easily take hold.

    Reusing the bottles also increases the risk that chemicals can leach into the water. Most disposable bottles are made using PET plastic which contains chemicals like antimony and phthalates. Reusing the bottles causes these substances to be released in higher amounts over time. Especially if storing hot liquids.

    That said, if you want to reuse plastic water bottles, the FDA recommends taking precautions. Thoroughly wash bottles with soap and hot water after each use – don’t just rinse. Avoid storing bottles where they’ll be exposed to heat and sun which accelerates chemical leaching. Replace bottles frequently at first sign of cloudiness, scratching or cracks. Use only for cold water, not hot drinks.

    You can further mitigate risks by using good quality hard plastic bottles rather than cheaper thin bottles that degrade faster. Soda bottles and commercial reusable bottles tend to be more durable. Use bottles meant for multiple uses, not single serve. Or consider switching to reusable stainless steel or glass bottles for worry-free filling and refilling.

    While occasional reuse of plastic water bottles is generally considered low risk, daily reuse can increase chances of bacterial growth and ingesting chemicals released from the plastic – especially if washing improperly and exposing bottles to heat and sun over time. Carefully assess your reuse habits and limit just how long you continue refilling the same plastic water bottle before replacement. Or make the switch to reusable bottles designed to be refilled for years if making your own drinking water is a priority.

  • How do I properly clean and sanitize a plastic water bottle before reusing it?

    Reusing plastic water bottles comes with some health risks if they are not thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between each use. When refilling the same bottle, it is imperative you wash it properly to reduce the chances of bacteria growth and buildup over time. Here is a step-by-step process for proper cleaning.

    Start by emptying out any remaining liquid from the bottle and removing the cap before washing. Especially rinse out any remnants around the mouth opening where bacteria accumulation is most likely. Give the bottle a quick initial rinse under warm running water while scrubbing the inside walls with a bottle brush. Use a narrow brush with sturdy bristles that can reach the whole interior surface area.

    Next, prepare a sink or basin with hot water, dish soap, and vinegar. The hot water helps dissolve contaminants, soap lifts residue, and vinegar disinfects. Submerge the bottle fully and squeeze dish soap directly into it until foamy. Scrub the inside vigorously with the bottle brush, focusing on hard to reach spots like the crevices around the cap threading.

    As you scrub, regularly rinse out the bottle’s interior by submerging in clean hot water and shaking before returning to scrub more. Change the rinse water each time. Repeating the scrub rinse cycle helps prevent just moving grime around rather than removing it.

    Once the inside looks clean, fill the bottle about 1/3 full with the hot vinegar and water solution. Replace cap and shake vigorously for 30 seconds to disinfect every surface. Drain vinegar solution and follow with a hot water rinse a few times until there’s no vinegar scent left behind.

    After washing, allow bottle to fully air dry upside down on a drying rack before reuse. Patience is key – don’t wipe dry with a towel which can reintroduce new bacteria. It’s best to let bottles air dry for at least 24 hours. Washing immediately before refilling while still wet can transfer lingering bacteria into your fresh drink.

    Get into a regular habit of inspecting bottles for cracks, cloudiness or scratches before reuse. Any signs of damage mean it’s time to retire that bottle from beverage duty. Proper cleaning takes some diligence but is worthwhile to maximize plastic bottle reuse while protecting your health.

  • What types of crafts can I make using empty plastic water bottles?

    With endless possibilities for creativity, plastic water bottles can be repurposed into all sorts of crafty decorations and practical items after you’ve quenched your thirst. Their durability and waterproof nature lends itself well for home decor, storage, toys, accessories, and more.

    One of the easiest crafts is to make vases and flower holders from cut water bottles. Remove labels, trim the bottle to desired heights, and clean thoroughly before adding faux or fresh flower arrangements. Spray paint the outer surface in colors matching your décor or wrap with string lights for pretty accent pieces. You can cluster bottles together for eclectic statement vases.

    For outdoor charm, plastic bottles can become unique bird feeders, garden lanterns, and plant watering devices. Add a handmade touch to your lawn décor by transforming bottles into summertime sprinklers and quirky garden stakes. They also work great as scoops and fungal containers for gardening.

    If the unique shape and size of plastic bottles inspires you, try using them as forms for concrete planters, candle molds, or decorative bowls. With some strong tape and plastic sheeting, make cylindrical vessels for creating one-of-a-kind ceramics.

    For organizing around the home, water bottles are perfect for kids’ rooms and play areas. Fashion them into piggy banks, pencil cups, toy trucks, building block structures, and imaginative musical shakers. Turn bottles into holiday ornaments and decorations using decorative paper, paint, glitter, and other embellishments.

    In the craft and hobby room, reuse bottles for storing paint brushes, flowers, beads, buttons, and other small supplies that fit through the wider mouths. Adults can fashion them into sewing kits, first aid kits, and jewelry boxes for some unexpected storage flair.

    No need to throw away that used water bottle next time you’re done sipping – flip it upside down and get creative. With a simple transformation, you can upcycle what would otherwise be plastic waste into cute and functional crafts for your home, office, classroom, playroom and more! The possibilities are endless.

  • Can plastic water bottles be recycled after reusing them or do they have to go in the regular trash?

    When it comes to proper disposal of plastic water bottles, one common question is whether they can be recycled if you have reused them first or if reused bottles must go in the regular rubbish bin instead. There are a few factors at play when determining the best way to eventually dispose of your used plastic water bottles.

    In general, plastic water bottles that have been reused can usually still be recycled rather than thrown in landfill garbage. However, there are some caveats depending on what you refilled the bottle with and how many times it was reused before recycling. Certain substances and wear cause issues.

    First, if you reused your plastic water bottle to store non-food items like soap, lotions or chemicals, then the bottle should go straight into the garbage. Most recyclers cannot properly sanitize and process materials contaminated with hazardous substances, so don’t put these reused bottles into recycling bins. However, if you only refilled it with new drinks, recycling is likely still viable.

    Additionally, if your plastic water bottle is showing excessive signs of wear – severe cracks, scratches and cloudiness – then recycled plastic producers may not be able to work with the degraded material. In that case, also dispose in the garbage instead of the recycling stream. Slight clouding and light scratches are typically fine though.

    Check with your local municipal recycling program’s guidelines too. For example, some towns request you remove bottle labels if reusing the containers before eventual recycling. Others prefer lids be left on or off bottles. Adhere to community recommendations.

    You can reuse a high quality plastic water bottle several times before needing to retire it from service. Just be sure it has retained enough integrity for recycling mills to still process the plastic polymer material. If unsure, when in doubt throw out in garbage instead.

    So clean, structurally sound plastic water bottles that have only been used to store safe drinking liquids can generally be recycled even after reusing them a handful of times. But badly degraded bottles contaminated with chemicals should not be placed into recycling bins. Confirm specifics with your local waste and recycling authority.

  • Are there ways to up-cycle plastic water bottles into useful household items?

    With creativity and a bit of DIY spirit, plastic water bottles can be transformed into handy organizational tools, storage containers, dispensers, and other practical creations rather than ending up in a landfill. Here are some ideas to up-cycle bottles into useful household products:

    Watering Plants: Transform plastic water bottles into self-watering devices for houseplants by poking a small hole in the cap and placing it top down in the soil. Fill periodically and the slow leak waters plant roots. Larger cut bottles also work inserted directly into soil.

    Herb Garden: Similarly, clipped water bottles with cap can make mini starter pots for herbs, flowers, and seedlings if drainage holes are added. As plants grow, place the plastic pot into the ground as is.

    Pet Toys: Recycled plastic bottles make great toy bins for cats or ferrets to crawl through with a few entry and exit holes cut. Also use to make crinkly cat toys by putting some dry pasta or pebbles inside.

    Spice Rack: For small kitchen storage, use scissors to cut plastic bottles horizontally into short open cylinders for displaying spices, condiments or utensils neatly on countertops and shelves.

    Cleaning Tools: Cut water bottles in half with the spout intact to make dust pans and scoops for tidying small messes. The tapered shape helps sweep debris into the pan formed by the base.

    Handy Funnel: Similarly, the spout and cap make any bottle a built-in funnel for pouring liquids neatly without spillage – like for Adding oils to vehicles or funneling compost scraps into the bin.

    Piggy Bank: Let kids reuse bottles as quirky coin banks for saving money. Use strong tape to fully seal around the slit opening after inserting coins to lock them in securely.

    Pencil Holder: Bottles of all sizes, especially the standard disposable size, work great for organizing writing utensils on desks and school workstations when decorated.

    Storage Containers: Finally, customize and decorate bottles by painting them or adding labels to store small items like cotton swabs, hair ties, jewelry, office supplies and more. A touch of upcycling turns waste into organizational pieces!

    With a mind for reuse, that plastic water bottle destined for the recycling logo can enjoy another useful chapter as clever home products before its final disposal. Rethink and repurpose!

  • Is plastic from water bottles bad for the environment? Should I avoid reusing them?

    Plastic water bottles have developed a negative reputation as a ubiquitous symbol of waste and environmental harm. While many concerns around single-use plastics are valid, reusing bottles is actually recommended as the most eco-friendly option before proper recycling. With some precautions, plastic bottles can be up-cycled rather than trashed.

    It’s true the majority of plastic bottles end up in landfills, slowly breaking down while releasing greenhouse gases. Producing the oil-based plastic also depends heavily on fossil fuels and emits carbon. However, since plastic bottles are already circulating in high volumes, reusing is preferable to adding more waste into the equation through disposal.

    The biggest environmental benefit of a reuse mindset is reducing additional virgin plastic needing manufacture – which consumes more energy and resources than producing recycled material. Refilling and repurposing a bottle means fewer new bottles manufactured. Even better, substitute reusable stainless steel or glass bottles whenever possible.

    While chemicals in plastic like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates that can leach into liquids are concerning, they primarily pose risks with constant reuse over time. Avoiding excessive wear and scratching can mitigate leaching, and using HDPE or PET plastic bottles considered safer.

    Ultimately, adopting reusable practices while gradually transitioning from plastic to glass, metal, and other eco-safe alternatives is reasonable. Refill plastic water bottles in moderation while recycling properly at end of life cycle. Just don’t continuously reuse the same bottle forever as it degrades. Renew and replace over time.

    Consider creative ways to up-cycle bottles around your home, office, or school before disposal too – transform into organizers, vases, toys, planting pots, crafts supplies storage, and more functional uses that avoid waste and need to purchase replacements.

    While systemic change relies on reducing plastic waste overall, as consumers reusing some bottles responsibly helps move culture toward more sustainability – just be mindful of health and lifespan factors. Avoid simply trashing bottles immediately to not exponentially compound waste issues. With some small changes, plastic bottles can become assets not liabilities!

  • What are the most popular ways people tend to reuse their empty plastic water bottles?

    Of the billions of single-use plastic water bottles purchased yearly around the world, a small sustainable movement seeks to reuse these bottles rather than immediately recycling or trashing them. Extending usable life through reuse and upcycling helps minimize overall plastic waste impact. Some favorite repurposing ideas have emerged as popular go-to options.

    The most common reuse for plastic water bottles is as handy containers for storing both dry goods and liquids. Their leakage-proof durability makes them ideal to store everything from nails and screws in home workshops, cotton balls and Q-tips in bathrooms, to serving as makeshift water carafes. Even simply reusing bottles to bring water along rather than purchasing new disposable bottles every day cuts significant waste.

    Many eco-conscious folks also creatively repurpose bottles around living spaces as quirky home décor and organizers. Transforming plastic bottles into vases, pencil cups, desktop organizers is popular for adding a funky, functional flair. Along with reusing bottles for holiday crafts and kids’ art projects for school.

    Those with green thumbs frequently reuse empty plastic water bottles for gardening and outdoor planting purposes as well. Bottles make excellent DIY seed starters and mini greenhouse nurseries for delicate sprouts when cut and reused as planters. Gardeners also reuse bottles as scoops, rain gauges to collect water, and bottle-cap self-watering spikes for thirsty plants.

    For pet owners and bird enthusiasts, another common bottle-repurposing tactic is getting crafty by transforming plastic bottles into feathered-friend feeders for hanging or mounting outdoors. The clear plastic offers visibility while feeding birds, and they cling easily to the smooth surface.

    Even fitness gurus love reusing water bottles creatively, like cutting large bottles to store foam rollers, resistance bands, and other stretch accessories. The durable plastic holds up through sweaty workouts repeatedly.

    The right reuse mindset lets a versatile plastic water bottle enjoy multiple chapters in its lifecycle rather than one-and-done disposal. Whether storing, planting, crafting or admiring their usefulness, repurposing bottles taps into their potential. Reduce and reuse first, then recycle properly – getting the most mileage from plastic products benefits the environment most in the end.

  • How long can I safely reuse a plastic water bottle before needing to replace it?

    When reusing a plastic water bottle, the most important factor in determining its safe lifespan is how well you care for it. With consistent, proper care high-quality bottles can be reused for up to 6 months. However, inadequate cleaning paired with structural wear can shorten safe reuse to just 2-3 weeks before needing replacement. Assessing care, usage, and integrity provides realistic reuse guidance.

    Proper bottle care revolves around washing thoroughly after each use using hot, soapy water. Additionally allowing bottles to fully air dry upside down before refilling again keeps moisture from trapped bacteria growth. Develop a strict cleaning regimen rather than just quick rinses to maximize reuse periods. Deep clean at least weekly with bottle brushes.

    However, inspect routinely for cloudiness, odors, cracks or scratches which indicate plastic breakdown. Any structural flaws mean retirement time. Also, limit exposure to sustained high heat when possible either from hot car interiors, boiling liquids or microwaves which accelerate chemical leaching.

    Bottles with signs of damage and distorted shape are unsafe to continue reusing. Replace immediately if you notice cracking, or the bottle no longer stands upright without wobbling. Even small bites from the rim reduces integrity. Monitor your bottles as you refill them.

    The frequency bottles are refilled also impacts lifespan. Bottles used only occasionally or seasonally may enjoy years of reuse, while bottles reused multiple times daily require more vigilance and quicker replacement every few months max. The dishwasher’s hot temp should also be avoided for plastic longevity.

    Essentially, high-quality hard plastic bottles that hold their shape can be reused for up to 6 months when frequently hand washed in hot, soapy water and allowed to fully air dry before rotating back into use. Quick rinsers with infrequent cleaning need replacement after just weeks depending on usage levels. Any structural damage, odor or cloudiness means retirement time has come. With proper care and damage checks, safe plastic bottle reuse spans months not weeks before swapping in fresh bottles!

    Implementing good cleaning and storage habits, limiting temperature extremes and monitoring wear allows you to responsibly reuse bottles many times over. But inadequate washing paired with clear visual or smell clues of decomposing plastic requires immediate replacement for health. Care for your bottles, and they’ll care for you in return!

  • Can I reuse plastic water bottles in my garden? If so, how?

    Plastic water bottles can enjoy an eco-friendly second life in the garden through various repurposed applications that reduce overall waste while benefiting your plants. Ways to creatively reuse bottles for gardening tasks include converting into self-watering devices, improvised grow pots, protective covers, mixing sticks and more.

    One popular way to reuse water bottles is transforming them into smart self-watering systems for potted container plants and veggies on patios, balconies or walks. Simply poke a small hole in the cap, fill the inverted bottle with water and bury upright in soil. As the soil dries, moisture slowly releases through the cap hole right to the roots. Lasts days longer than traditional top watering.

    Larger cut plastic bottles also work wonderfully directly inserted into garden beds as protective covers for seed beds and susceptible young plants to foster growth. Likewise, the domed shape makes an instant mini greenhouse nursery for delicate seedlings by cutting the bottom off and placing over sprout shoots.

    Come autumn, reusable water bottles come in handy again for year-end garden chores too. Remove labels and cut the tops off large bottles to craft temporary protective cloches over frost-sensitive plants or to safely contain garden refuse over winter months. Weigh down with stones for stability.

    For compact spaces, plastic water bottles cut in half horizontally provide perfect seed starter pots on patios and window sills. Add drainage holes at the base and fill with seed starting mix before sowing a few seeds. Transplant the bottle and seedling right into the ground as it grows.

    Bottles likewise work great as handy scoops for compost, fertilizer pellets or scattering seeds and garden amendments in prepared soil beds. The measuring lines allow regulating how much product you spread and cover in beds.

    Spray paint or decorate exterior surfaces to develop colorful garden labels, stake row marks and garden borders using the cut bottles stuck into the ground. The visibility provides helpful visual mapping of what you planted where!

    So don’t throw away that used water bottle next time you’re gardening – reuse creatively! Refill for self-watering systems, craft covers over delicate veggies, mix soil amendments in the container itself and more. Repurposing is the sustainable choice for gardens.

  • Are there concerns about chemicals leaching from the plastic during reuse? How do I prevent that?

    A valid concern when reusing disposable plastic water bottles is the risk of harmful chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, and antimony leaching out from the plastic polymer and contaminating the contents. Especially when bottles degrade from wear and tear over time. Luckily several precautions help prevent or minimize exposure.

    Leaching accelerates when plastics break down through exposure to heat, sun, or simply normal long term usage. Scratches and cracks within the plastic harbor bacteria while allowing faster leaching of chemicals lurking within the plastic itself straight into the liquid contents.

    The main way to curtail leaching is avoiding reuse behaviors known to degrade bottle integrity faster. This means limiting exposure to high temperatures and direct sunlight which breakdown the plastic polymer chains quicker. Do not microwave reusable plastic bottles or leave in hot car interiors which both weaken structure.

    Additionally, prevent surface scratches by careful handling and washing methods. Avoid using harsh scrub brushes and instead use gentle, proper cleaning practices that don’t scar the plastic. Check frequently for clouding, odor issues or visible cracks which signal retiring time.

    When reusing plastic water bottles, stick to exclusively cold water rather than hot drinks. Hot liquids leach chemicals exponentially faster while cooling drink contents reduces diffusion rates and risks. Also, swap out bottles more frequently, don’t attempt to reuse forever.

    Finally, know your plastic types. Opt for reusable bottles made from HDPE, LDPE, PP or PET plastic marked with a #2, #4 or #5 recycle code which leach less overall than plastic containing BPA or PVC. Never reuse bottles showing wear for hot contents. And discard at first sight of damage or fogginess rather than risking ingesting loose plastic or chemicals.

    Following responsible reuse habits allows enjoying plastic water bottles a bit longer before proper recycling. But improper cleaning, surface damage, heat and sunlight exposure accelerate breakdown and greater leaching over time – forcing earlier retirement. With careful handling and awareness, plastic bottles can be up-cycled safely.


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