I often marvel at just how cheap plastic has become. I can buy a whole apartment’s worth of bottled water for a few bucks (at most). Sometimes I feel like our world today runs on plastic—and it can be worrisome.
So I challenged myself to give every plastic item I bring into my home at least two or three lives. Here are seven fun ideas you may want to try as well!
Is it safe to reuse plastic containers?
Health experts say that in most cases, the possible presence of bacteria can make it unsafe to reuse plastic containers for other food or drink uses. This is because most plastic containers today are not manufactured with more than one use in mind (for more see The Huffington Post).
However, you can reuse plastic containers perfectly safely in many other ways, reducing your carbon footprint, organizing your household, and having fun while you do it!
8 Safe ways to reuse your plastic
These hacks will give any plastic container a second useful life!
1. Make a hummingbird feeder.
Hummingbirds' favorite food is sugar water—a food that is hard to serve in traditional bird feeders. But an old plastic water bottle is the perfect serving dish (check out these how-tos from the National Wildlife Federation!).
- What to do: Punch a hole through the water bottle about one inch from the top. Insert a plastic straw. Fill the bottle with water and then turn it upside down. Wait for the straw to fill with water (you may need to adjust the angle until it fills without spilling). Then pour out the water and secure the straw with glue (you’ll want to use waterproof glue). Now cut out a red flower shape (a little bigger than the bottle width) and punch a hole in the middle of it. Thread it down over the straw (this red "flower" will attract the hummingbirds). Finally, fill the bottle with sugar water and hang it from a nearby tree branch. Then just wait!
2. Create your own craft supply or kids play station.
Larger plastic bottles can become the perfect receptacles to store craft and play supplies (for kids or adults!).
- What to do: The best plastic bottles for this are flat-sided (think milk containers, not water bottles—unless they’re Fiji water bottles!). Or you can reuse a bigger plastic case or container.
3. Make a plastic bag holder.
For this project, baby wipes containers work perfectly!
- What to do: Once the wipes are all used, cut away the remaining plastic around the inside opening. Then you can use the container to store your plastic bags until you need them for trash or projects.
4. Jewelry and accessories holders.
Are you converting from plastic storage to all glass in the kitchen? Don't pitch your old plastic storage containers just yet—they make handy storage for non-edibles!
- What to do: Using craft labels, designate a storage container for earrings, bracelets, cufflinks, hair ties, and other accessories. Stack in cupboards and cabinets until needed. Old Tupperware, Lunchables boxes, yogurt cups, even old plastic ice cube trays can work perfectly here!
Via The DIY Dreamer
5. Toilet paper protectors.
Going camping? Or heading for a festival featuring live music and….porta-potties? An old plastic coffee container can be a great toilet paper protector.
- What to do: Just tuck the roll inside and cut a vertical slit in the side of the container. You can feed the toilet paper out while protecting what’s left from rain and humidity within.
6. Make a neat plastic dustpan or shove.
Any plastic bottle or container with a handle will work (juice or milk bottles are great!) for this reuse.
- What to do: Draw a line with permanent market down the sides of the handle and out in a triangle shape from the bottom of the handle (widest point) to the very bottom of the bottle (narrowest point). Then cut along those lines. You will be left with a neat shovel or dustpan (depending on whether you cut to an exact point or to a flat angle).
7. Create an indoor plant station.
Old plastic soda bottles make great planter pots!
- What to do: For an individual planter, cut the bottle horizontally about 1/3 of the way down from the top. Take the cap and punch a small hole through it. Screw on the cap and then invert the top. Take a piece of thick twine or string and thread it through the hole in the cap. Fill the bottom of the bottle with water, and place the inverted top into the bottom. Place a seedling in the inverted top. The string will automatically feed moisture up to water the plant.
Note: You can also create an edible “wall” using plastic bottles turned on their sides, with a hole cut at the top. Just fill with dirt and seedlings!