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Sustainability at Home – Fun Ways to Reuse Empty Plastic Bottles

Greetings to all the Eco Champions out there!

In the spirit of Plastic-Free July, as well as keeping little people busy at home during lockdown (you can thank me later), I thought it would be fitting to share some fun ideas on reusing plastic bottles.  Although plastic bottles (PET) are one of the easier materials to recycle in South Africa, they are still problematic.  Anyone who has taken part in a beach cleanup after heavy rains can confirm this.  Plastic bottles are simply a way of life for many people, and that’s okay, however we do need to be mindful of what we do with these bottles after use.


Here are our top five ways to reuse plastic bottles.

1. Make a DIY Plastic Bottle Planter

  • If you’re anything like me, the lockdown period has resulted in a newly found love for getting busy in the garden. Run out of pots?  No problem!  Get the kids involved and make your own pots from the bottoms of 2-litre plastic bottles.  Let those creative juices flow!
  • For cute animal standing planters, draw the shape of the face of the animal and cut off the bottom third of a 2-litre bottle. Or flip it around and cut off the top third of a 2-litler bottle and make a hanging bottle planter.
  • Paint the bottle a colour of your choice (chalk paint is pretty and easy to apply), draw the face of your animal onto the painted bottle, add little filigree to beautify your bottle and secure all the filigrees using glue to the bottle planter.
  • Fill the bottle with potting soil and plant of your choice. This works well for starting a herb garden too!
  • Check out this cool project https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOb0R7tObD0.

planter planter2

2. Upcycle a Detergent/Milk Bottle into a Watering Can
This works best with any plastic container that has a larger lid.  Drill or punch some holes into the lid and you’ve got yourself a watering can! You can spray or paint the bottles to make them look a bit more “chic”. Check out these awesome tutorials http://intheknowmom.net/diy-watering-can-detergent-bottle/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJzkrwCjUDI.

wateringbottle1 wateringbottle

3. Make a Piggy Bank

Another great project for the kids, use a plastic bottle for the body, plastic bottle caps as feet, plastic cut outs covered with material for the ears, and cut a slit at the top of the body for the coins.  Feel free to paint the body or leave it transparent.  Empty mayonnaise bottles would be perfect for this. Check out this cool tutorial http://www.alittletipsy.com/2013/06/bottle-piggy-banks-12monthsofmartha.html.


4. Create a Vertical Garden

We’re back to gardening, and for those families who really enjoy their fizzy drinks, this is a great one – creating a vertical garden.  In addition to the obligatory bottles, you will need rope, clothesline or twine to make a beautiful hanging garden to liven up a bare wall.  Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a vertical garden https://zululandobserver.co.za/132660/turn-plastic-bottle-waste-into-a-worthy-vertical-garden/.

verticalgarden verticalgarden2

5. Turn Plastic Bottles into Pet Treat Dispensers

That’s right, a pet treat dispenser!  These are super easy to make and incredibly handy for when your dog or cat demand your attention while you’re attempting to work from home.  Simply cut or punch some holes randomly all over a plastic bottle, place a handful of their kibble or other treat of choice in the bottle, replace the lid and voila!  The aim is for your pet to be completely absorbed in attempting to get the treats out of the bottle, leaving you in peace.  Obviously, the size of the holes will need to be a little bigger than the size of the treat. Check out this super cool spinning dog treat game tutorial https://www.goodshomedesign.com/diy-spinning-plastic-bottle-dog-treat-game/.

treatdispenser Spinning-Plastic-Bottle-Dog-Treat-Game

Remember, being “eco-friendly”, “green”, or “sustainable” starts at home. 
Have a great Plastic-Free July everyone!

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