Mineral water, soda, energy drink, juices – these are the liquids usually contained in bottles. On a daily basis, how many bottles do you end up throwing in the recycling bin at home? What about when you’re working in the office, and you make frequent runs to the vending machine for cold drinks?
When you are out and about, you would also usually buy bottled drinks due to its convenience. Although there’s nothing wrong with consuming drinks straight out of a plastic bottle, the trash that everyone ends up accumulating adds up to what could be tons of waste.
To do your share in helping save the environment, why not look for ways to actually reuse these plastic bottles? This is what we will try to learn more about in the next sections.
How Many Plastic Bottles are Collected for Recycling?
In a typical week at home, do you end up with bags and bags of used plastic bottles? If yes, you should definitely look for ways to reuse these items. To give you an idea about how many plastic bottles actually end up in recycling bins, take a look at a few figures from Statista.com:
- In 2000, 769 million pounds of PET containers were collected for recycling. PET stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate, a plastic resin which is the most common type of polyester. PET plastic with the number 1 code can be used for drinking, and is considered safe for packaging food and non-food items. PET plastic can be recycled into many new products.
- For 2008, 1.72 PET bottles were used per person at outdoor sports stadiums.
- For the year 2000, 22.3% of bottles on US shelves were collected for recycling.
- In 2009, the revenue of plastic bottle manufacturing companies in the US ranged at $12.9 billion.
- Based on total sales, the US is the largest bottled water consumer market. For 2013, 10.09 billion gallons of bottled water were sold in the country.
- The three major players in bottled water manufacturing are PepsiCo, Coca-Cola company and Nestle.
- There are three main reasons why US consumers use up lots of bottled water containers:
- The convenience of buying single-packed bottled water
- Single-serving bottled water packages are very appealing to consumers
- Bottled water consumption is considered to be very healthy
- For the aforementioned reasons, it’s no surprise that the per capital consumption of bottled water in the US reached an all-time high of 32 gallons in 2013.
Top 20 Ways to Use an Old Bottle
With the humongous number of plastic bottles being consumed in the US, it is a must for everyone to do their share in reusing and recycling these plastic bottles. Otherwise, they’ll end up in landfills and place undue harm to the environment. To give you an idea about how you can use these plastic bottles again, check out the top 20 ways:
1. Flower Vases
You frequently see beautifully painted vases at antique shops or flower shops, but these are merely recycled items. Make your own by using matte white spray paint and old glass or plastic bottles of milk or beer. Allow drying and voila, you have an instant flower vase without spending a cent!
2. Decorative Yarn Bottles
Another twist to the recycled milk bottles is to use spools of yarn instead of paint to decorate the surface. Using some glue, start by spooling yarn from the top down to the bottom of the bottle. It doesn’t have to be all even, the rough pattern will give the bottle a rustic look. Use the bottles as flower vases which will give your dinner table a delicate look once filled with blooms.
3. Washi Tape Bottles
Washi tapes come in a variety of patterns, colors, designs and thicknesses. With the collection of plastic bottles that you have, you can simply stick Washi tape around the body of clean bottles and use them as repurposed drink containers, flower vases or pencil organizers.
4. Newspaper Holder
Cut the upper portion of plastic bottles with all the same sizes, line them together in a piece of metal or wooden stick, and use them as a newspaper holder. You can place it by the bedroom, in a reading nook by the living room or in the patio so that you can directly organize the newspaper soon after they are delivered do your doorstep.
5. Pencil Caddy
Instead of buying can, glass or ceramic pencil holder, simply recycle the old plastic bottles that you have at home. Ones with the widest circumference will do so that you can place as many pencils or pens as possible. Use a rubber lining on top and make it as plain or as colourfully designed as you’d like it to be.
6. Plastic Bottle Vertical Garden
You might have seen pictures of this plastic bottle vertical garden online or on social media posts. If you don’t have the space to spare to build a horizontal garden, you can hang plastic bottles on the wall to build a vertical garden. Instructions are available online, and you can plant anything – from herbs to flowering plants, or small fruit or vegetable-bearing plants.
7. Bird Feeder
If you have a garden in your front lawn or backyard, you can use a big water bottle as a bird feeder. Hang it in a strategic place and stick a couple of old wooden spoons through the bottle. Fill it up with bird seed and watch those little flying animals hang around your garden all day.
8. Plastic Bottle Herb Holders
If you don’t like the cluttered look of a vertical garden, organize a small herbal garden instead. You can use the bottom part of plastic bottles as the container for sand, or use a traditional pot and the upper part of a plastic bottle to cover and protect the seedling of your plaints.
9. Hanging Water Bottle Vases
Prettify the exterior of your home with hanging plastic water bottle bases. Cut a plastic bottle in half and hang it with the cap part at the bottom, then fill it up with water. You can use it as a vase for flowering blooms and other plants.
10. Plastic Bottle Jewelry Stand
The bottom part of plastic bottles can be cut and placed on a wooden or metal bar. Poke a hole right in the middle and organize the plastic bottles one on top of the other. You’d need a few tools, screws and other materials to finish this crafts project but the effort will be well worth it in the end. You can organize your rings, earrings, bracelets and other accessories on the jewelry stand.
11. Bottled Water Desk Organizer
An easier way to create an organizer using plastic bottles is to cut the bottom part and place them alongside each other on your desk. You can use the containers to store pens, paper clips, wires, pins, stapler wires and other office supplies.
12. Plastic Bottle Cap Bag Sealer
An ingenious way to organize food items in your pantry is by using a plastic bottle cap bag sealer. If you have spare coffee beans to store, for example, place the beans in plastic bag. Then, cut off the upper cap part of a small water bottle. Separate the cap and the lid part, then use it as a way to securely seal the plastic bag containing the coffee beans.
13. Plastic Bottle Packaging
If you love to bake cupcakes, macaroons and other delicious goodies, you can use plastic water bottles as packaging. Instead of buying individual cupcake boxes, for example, you can use the bottom of a clear plastic bottle as a cover along with a secure base. You can also join two water bottles together to package a bunch of macaroons or muffins. Use Washi tapes to seal the container together.
14. Plastic Bottle Chandelier
There are many instructions available online on how you can create chandeliers and other gorgeous lighting fixtures using plastic bottles. Usually, it’s the end of the plastic bottles which look like clear miniature flowers which need to be put together. After the base of the chandelier is formed, you can place the lighting fixture inside and hang the chandelier in strategic places in your home!
15. Water Bottle Cuff Bracelets
If you have kids who are into fashion, spend an afternoon making cuff bracelets or beads bracelets which are made from plastic bottles.
16. Plastic Bottle Trash Can
You’d need quite a few number of the same plastic bottles for this project. Glue them together to form a big container which you can use as a trash can to well, recycle plastic water bottles.
17. Boot Shaper
If you have lots of cowboy or rain boots, retain the shape of the upper part of the footwear by using plastic bottles as shapers. Just make sure that they’re the right size.
18. Plastic Bottle Coin Purse
Using the bottom of two plastic bottles, sew on a zipper in the middle and use as a coin purse. You can also glue mock eyes at the upper part to come up with a craft project for the kids, like a talking monster.
19. Plastic Bottle Piggy Banks
Again, using two plastic bottles, you can glue them together to form a piggy bank. Use spray paint to create the body of an animal, and make sure that there’s a slot where coins can be placed.
20. Home Crafts Projects
There are also plenty of ways that you can disassemble or cut plastic bottles and use as a decoration for your yard or inside the home. Go online to borrow design inspirations.
Remember that plastic bottles take more than ten years to decompose completely. Instead of throwing them in the trash and contributing to waste, find ways to recycle these plastic bottles and make them a more permanent, useful fixture inside and outside your home.
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