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7 Cool Things People Have Made from Plastic Bottles

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Some people’s trash (or recyclables) is another person’s raw materials for amazing reuses.

Unless I’m really in a bind, I’m pretty good about not buying bottled water anymore. I have a whole shelf of travel bottles that my family and I use when we’re out and about, and, since I’m trying to make an effort to drink my 8-plus glasses a day, I’ve always got a giant tumbler by my side as I’m working or running errands.


But when we do have a thirst emergency and have to break down and buy a bottle, I always try to reuse it however I can. It ends up cut open to be used as a vessel for a painting project, or by the sink to fill for plants as I’m getting hot water, or I even refill them to drink from once or twice, although this is not recommended for health reasons.


Still, doing my little part seems like a drop in the ocean when I go to events and see the huge volume of plastic bottles of water and other beverages being purchased and discarded — whether in the trash or in the recycling bin. Wouldn’t it be great if these quantities of bottles could be repurposed? I’ve seen some great projects that make use of a bunch of bottles. Here are some of my favorites:


  1. An eco-hotel in Fiji has made a boat entirely from plastic bottles, a layer of foam for increased buoyancy, and plastic sheeting. Want to make your own? Instructables has directions to make an open-topped kayak from bottles.


  1. Ever noticed the pretty blossom design on the base of the water bottle? One creative designer has – she cuts the bottoms off and strings them together to make transparent room-divided curtains. She includes instructions so you can try it yourself.


  1. British designer Michelle Brand uses those same bottle-bottom blossoms to make strings of flower lights with LED bulbs as well. She also uses them to make cascading chandeliers.


  1. You’d need a LOT of bottles to make them, but I’ve even come across plastic bottle greenhouses. You can find various instructions and examples online, and one intrepid soul even built a solar water heater from plastic bottles. If you want to make your own greenhouse, you can purchase a book with instructions


  1. I’d love to lounge in this plastic bottle chair made by designer Pawel Grunert, or these beanbags filled with shredded plastic bottle caps made by Hong Kong company Kacama, which solves a big disposal problem in places where caps are not accepted for recycling.


  1. At a 2010 event, a Peace Corps volunteer showcased how plastic bottles filled with trash (to make them opaque) can be used to build an entire building. Laura Kutner also used this unique building material to build a schoolhouse in Guatemala.


  1. I love the idea of plastic bottle planters to use as a vertical garden… they look best if you have a bunch of them, but even a few would work. These instructions should help you get started.

If you had hundreds of plastic bottles to repurpose, how would you use them? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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About the Author
Jessica Harlan
Jessica Harlan
I love finding new ways to green my family's life as painlessly as possible, and sharing those ideas with folks who want to do the same. more
  • Audrey N. 8 months ago
    I love the chandelier it’s so pretty.
  • Lucy S. 2 years ago
    Now, here's a thought: build a Plastic Bottle Castle
    'Course, owning a private island with no building code restrictions might be an advantage
  • Carolyn A. 3 years ago
    I love to garden. I had little lavender plants popping up in my garden. I couldn't find the basic plastic containers with drainage holes in the bottom that you find inside a ceramic pot or outer decorative heavy plastic pot, individually for sale, so I recycled the Siggi's brand individual serving, 5.3 oz. yogurt containers, using an awl (the tool with the single pointed tip) to poke holes in the bottom for drainage. I put the small lavender plants in my garden composted dirt, in nice ceramic pots and large ceramic tea cups with saucers from Goodwill and gave the plants to friends. Everything in this project was recycled.

  • Voke A. 3 years ago
    Turning simple things into beautiful Art and helping the planet aswell, definitely awesome.
  • Lori W. 3 years ago
    Realizing that plastic grocery bags aren't the best, but I do have some and reuse them. So I have used a 2-liter plastic soda bottle, cap on, with a hole cut out in front to store the bags. You can decorate the bottle using a little glue and fabric scraps, twine, decoupage, or some decorative duct tape for examples. Compacts the bags into a small space for reuse, (I use them to get library items, or my mail, etc.) until recycled.
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