Earth Day 2021 - Reusing Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottle waste is out of control. If you care for the planet, you should know that 1,500 plastic bottles end up in the ocean or landfill every second. Let's take a moment to put this in perspective. That’s:

  • 90,000 bottles a minute
  • 5.4 million bottles an hour
  • 129 million bottles per day

earth day reusing plastic bottles diy crafts with a plastic bottle upcycle it hand painted plastic bottles turned into a monster and a cat planter outside on wooden table

Reusing plastic - and there are a lot of crafts with a plastic bottle that you can do - is just one of the key ways to keep your bottles out of landfills and the ocean. The world needs a collective effort to be able to reduce this waste.

While plastic is better than glass (450+ years to degrade versus a million), you can still make a difference by reusing plastic bottles in a few key ways.

7 Key Ways to Upcycle Your Plastic Bottles

Upcycling is a fun way to make use of plastic bottles that you would otherwise throw away. When you upcycle, you repurpose your bottles and turn them into something new and functional that doesn’t contribute to waste.

If you’re looking for ways to upcycle your plastic bottles, consider the following DIY with plastic bottles:

1. Self-Watering Bottle Garden

earth day reusing plastic bottles diy crafts with a plastic bottle upcycle it plastic bottle self watering planter sitting next to a window with plant starting to grow

A bottle garden is a great way to grow plants in your space, and you can take this one step further with a self-watering garden. You can see a perfect example of this on the blog: Handmade by Kelly.

You'll need a plastic bottle, scissors, yarn, nail, needle, and planting material to get started.

I won’t go into all of the details because Kelly explains it step-by-step for us, but the gist of it is that you’ll:

  • Cut the bottle 5 inches from the top
  • Hammer a nail into the lid
  • Thread yarn through the hole
  • Fill the top of the bottle with soil
  • Plant seeds
  • Water through the top
  • Refill as required

You'll be able to make a super neat, self-watering bottle that helps keep your plants alive while doing something good for the earth, too.

2. Water Faucet Extender

If you have one of those old, elongated sinks, it can be difficult for kids to get their hands in the sink and reach the water. You can always grab a step stool to help your little one, but where’s the fun in that?

Instead, one neat trick is to:

  • Cut the top of the plastic bottle off or remove the top if possible
  • Cut a hole, the size of the faucet in the bottom of the bottle
  • Place over the faucet spout
  • Turn the water on

Moisturizers and lotions are the perfect bottles for this due to their larger size and longer length. As one of the key crafts with a plastic bottle, the water faucet extender is a fun, easy way to help your kids wash their hands.

3. Soap Dispenser

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Have an old DMSO or soda bottle sitting around? If so, we have another question: do you use soap? Of course, you do! Everyone has a use for a soap dispenser. This is one of the easiest DIY hacks available because you can:

  • Fill up your plastic bottle with soap
  • Buy a twist on soap dispenser spout or use one you have

It's that easy, and you can do the same with hand sanitizer, lotions, or moisturizers.

4. Colorful Outdoor Décor

Plastic bottles don’t make a fashion statement on their own – normally. But you can use the tops of your bottles to make outdoor flowers that are really neat, chic, and easy to make. What you’ll need are a few of the same bottles, a little paint, and some scissors.

Cut the top of the bottles off to use as the “flower.”

Color the tops using paint and then wrap the bottom with silver duct tape. You can use yarn to hang the bottles. If you think that this is going to look terrible, think again.

View this tutorial on Creative Jewish Mom to see how amazing these “flower” bottles can look when they’re painted and decorated properly.

5. Cell Phone Holder

Tired of leaving your cell phone on the counter or your kids and grandkids just leaving their phones around?  You can make a really neat cell phone holder that will hang from anywhere that you plug your phone in to charge.

This is a little more in-depth, but it’s so impressive that we really wanted to show it to you.

GiannyL made a video of this upcycle that has over 176,000 views! Go check it out here to see the entire tutorial on making your very own plastic phone holder.

6. Bird Feeder

earth day reusing plastic bottles diy crafts with a plastic bottle upcycle it plastic bottle turned into a bird feeder waterer hanging in tree close up with yellow and brown bird perched to drink

Birds are going to love you reusing plastic if you decide to make a birder feeder. You can see an example of this on the blog: Heck Fridays. The recycled bird feeder is a summer project perfect for anyone that wants to make crafts with a plastic bottle.

You'll need:

  • A few cheap wooden spoons
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife
  • Birdseed
  • Hook 

You'll be using the wooden spoons to hold the seeds, cutting holes in the bottle, and placing the bottom of the spoon through both sides. Strategic cuttings, downward and diagonally, allows the birdseed to flow to the spoon and refills when enough seed is eaten.

If you really want to give back to nature, this is one of the really great ways to upcycle your plastic bottles.

Heck Fridays has a complete tutorial on how to create these plastic bird feeders from start to finish.

7. Miscellaneous Upcycles

There are a lot of ways that you can upcycle your plastic bottles. And while we covered a lot already, there are a lot of options that didn’t make the list that we want to share with you;

  • Create organizers
  • Create storage bins
  • Make magazine holders
  • Turn the bottle into a piggy bank
  • Pencil organizers
  • Coin purse

Earth Day is the perfect time of year to really look at the waste you produce – we all produce waste – and reuse the items in some way. If you spend time upcycling, you’ll up your craft game and do your part to help the planet.

And don't worry, our plastic bottles are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic and our jars are polypropylene (PP), so they are safe to reuse over and over again!

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