The most common way to recycle plastics–such as plastic bottles and containers–is to put them in the recycling bin for pick-up by the recycling companies. Some people also take the plastic bottles to recycling centers to make extra cash while helping the environment. Aside from doing these, there are other ways you can recycle or reuse plastics in your home that can be both beneficial to you and the environment.
Make a Watering Bottle
Reuse plastic bottles as watering bottles for your potted plants. Whether you are going on a long trip or just want to save time taking care of plants, you can use old water bottles to water your potted plants. Get an empty soda bottle; rinse it thoroughly.
Fill the bottle with water, leaving about an inch unfilled for air. The air will help push down the water later on once you start using the bottle.
Puncture a hole at the center of the plastic bottle cap using a 1 mm. thick nail and a hammer. Lay down the plastic cap with the top part touching a hard flat surface. If you are using a tabletop to work on, place a piece of block to protect the surface from nail marks. Place the nail at the center of the bottle cap, and then hit it with a hammer to make a hole. Wear work gloves for protection.
Place the bottle cap back on the bottle and turn it tightly. Turn the bottle upside down to test the flow of water. Make the hole bigger if it is not passing enough water. Ideally, you want a slow steady drip, not a stream of water so that the water will last longer.
Insert the bottle in an inverted position with the cap down through the soil.
Build a support for the bottle by using stakes made of sticks or scraps of wood. Place one piece of wood on each side of the bottle. The size of each stake should be as long as the bottle you are using. Then, wrap a wire around the two pieces of wood and the bottle. This should be able to provide one medium-sized potted plant enough water for three to four days.
Make Terrariums from Old Plastic Bottles
Get an empty plastic bottle. You can use any size of soda bottle, as long as you can provide enough coverage for the plants. You would need just one small plastic bottle; a 12 oz. bottle would do for a small pot (up to 1-gallon sized pot). You would need a 2-liter soda plastic bottle for a 5-gallon pot.
Cut the upper 1/4 part of the bottle. Set aside the bottom part, which you will use as terrarium. Discard the top part in the recycling bin.
Plant the seeds in a pot filled with potting mixture. You can use flower seeds, tomato seeds or other vegetable seeds. Almost any type of seed would do, since you will only use the terrarium to protect the seeds until they turn into seedlings (young plants) or up to 5 inches high. When the plant establishes itself in the soil, you can remove the plastic bottle. Choose a potting mixture appropriate for the type of seed you are planting; the label on the potting mixture bag should show if the soil would be good for planting vegetables or flowers.
Cover the seeded area with the lower part of the plastic bottle. Press the bottle 1 inch down the soil to keep it stable.
Line up several pieces of cut up bottles next to each other to cover a bigger planting area. For example, a big vegetable plot measuring 6 feet long and 2 feet wide would need twelve 2-liter plastic bottles to cover each section of the planting area spaced 1 foot apart.
Other Ways to Reuse Plastic Bottles
Reuse plastic bottles to store used cooking oil for cooking later on.
Reuse sauce and mayonnaise plastic jars as flower vases. Wash the jars thoroughly; put some water and fresh cut flowers. Wrap decorative ribbons or raffia around the jars to make them more attractive to look at.
Reuse plastic bottles as pots for seedlings. Puncture four holes at the bottom of each cut plastic bottle, fill it with potting soil and plant your seeds. Water will drain from the holes to prevent young plants from drowning.
Reuse plastic bags as garbage liners instead of buying new garbage bags to save on money.
Reuse plastic bags to add volume to your window valance. If you have a valance, you can add volume by crunching each plastic bag and inserting it through the side opening of the valance. Add several pieces of plastic bags until you achieve the desired fullness.
- Do not reuse soda bottles to store chemicals. The plastic may react with certain chemicals that may be harmful to the environment.