Frugal, responsible, brilliant

Upcycling plastic: Turn trash into treasures

More and more people are upcycling plastic and turning trash into useful and convenient items. It makes sense on so many levels. Read on to get great upcycling ideas for plastic bottles.

Why bother upcycling plastic waste?

Plastic is an amazing material. It can be used to produce a wide range of products and it is quite inexpensive. The problem is that it doesn’t decompose very fast. In fact, it will hang around for many decades or longer in landfills and garbage dumps. That means it’s hard to get rid of those millions of water bottles, soda bottles, and other containers.

Why not reuse at least some of them? It makes environmental sense and you can easily create some really useful items with used plastic bottles. Welcome to Upcycling Plastic Bottles 101.

Upcycling ideas with plastic bottles

There are so many things you can do with plastic bottles that we couldn’t possibly list them all. Here are a few just to get the ideas flowing:

  • Cut the top off some plastic bottles and use them as a “mini-greenhouse” to protect seedlings in your garden from birds, cold, or other dangers until they get a few inches tall.
  • Use a milk bottle, bleach bottle, or something similar to make a scoop by cutting off the bottom and about ⅔ of one side. Use it to scoop powdered soap or potting soil, for instance.
  • Lawn sprinkler: drill a bunch of holes on one side of a plastic bottle. Get an adapter so that the bottle can screw onto the end of your hose. Lay the bottle in the middle of the yard and turn on the spigot. Water will sprinkle out of the bottle reaching several feet in every direction.
  • If you like to garden, design a self-watering bottle. Drill a bunch of holes in a plastic bottle and bury it next to one of your plants or in between two plants. Leave the neck of the bottle a few inches above the soil. Fill the bottle with water and it will slowly seep out to water the plants.
  • Fruit picker: If you have fruit trees you can make a handy tool with a water bottle to pick fruit high up in the tree. Cut a hole in the side of the bottle big enough for a piece of fruit to fit into, but just cut a v-shaped notch on the bottom of the bottle. Find a long pole that will fit into the mouth of the bottle and attach it in place with duct tape or glue. Now you can reach up and grab a piece of fruit by “catching it” in the bottle and pulling down.

That is just a start for bottles! You can also get busy upcycling plastic bags, upcycling plastic cups, and many other plastic items.

What’s needed for upcycling plastic?

Besides the containers, the one item you will need is glue. It’s important to choose a glue that is suited to bond to plastic and withstand the conditions where it will be used.

Loctite Vinyl, Fabric & Plastic Flexible Adhesive is a clear liquid formula that’s great for bonding flexible plastics. It dries to a transparent and waterproof bond and can also be used inside or out.