The many uses for empty plastic bottles

By Paul Michael on 22 April 2008 19 comments

It's been a while since I did one of these video compilation posts, and the subject at hand is more than worthwhile. I thought I'd look around for innovative and inventive ways to recycle water bottles, soda bottles, milk bottles, and basically anything else that comes in plastic bottles. I was amazed by the versatility of the humble, but ultimately costly, plastic bottle.

With oil seemingly in short supply (let's not get into that one) and bottled water costing so much to both us and the environment, it seems prudent for a frugal living blog to cover recycling. But not in the usual way. If you already do plastic recycling at home, that's great. We love you for it, thanks for helping the environment.

But there's no reason you can't steal a few of these away from the recycling tub to save yourself a few bucks on some surprising items. Everything from fishing traps to lighting fixtures is covered here. And as always, my man over at Metacafe Mr. KipKay starts us off...

8 great uses for a 2-liter plastic bottle.

2 Liter Recycling - Funny videos are here


A plastic jug from a plastic bottle.

Make A JUG From Plastic Bottle - The funniest videos are a click away


Camping essential - Boil water, tea or coffee. It won't melt!

Boiling Water Plastic Bottle - Click here for more free videos


Plastic sea creatures: Make a mobile; entertain the older kids.

How To Make Pet Bottle Sea Creatures! - Watch more amazing videos here


Stun your more easily fooled friends at parties.

Ketchup In A Bottle Trick !! - Click here for the funniest movie of the week


Make a simple fishing trap; who need's a rod?

Make A Fish Trap - Watch the top videos of the week here


The milk bottle candelabra - just add hula hoop and bulbs.

Extreme Recycling - The most popular videos are a click away

If you have any other uses for those plastic bottles, let us all know in the comments box. I'm sure there are many more ingenius uses out there, and being the greedy frugal shopper that I am, I want to know them all.


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Guest's picture

Plastic bottles shouldn't be reused for heating items that will be consumed. Biphesonal A is only in polycarbonates, it's still unknown if toxic chemicals are leeching from single use containers. If you have to have a plastic bottle ewg says use a bottle labelled #2 recyclable.

Guest's picture

I completely agree. Not too sure that boiling a plastic bottle is completely safe. I've heard of instances where reusing the same plastic bottle over and over leads to cancer....who knows if it's true. But if I can avoid it, I will.

Guest's picture

Happy Earth Day! This is the best plastic bottle reusing compilation I have ever seen. The videos are very clever! I wonder if that fish trap worked. However, I do agree with Asarai with the toxicity of reheating plastic bottles. Good work!

Guest's picture

If you cut off the bottom half of a clear bottle and put it over a seed/ seedling, it can act as a greenhouse so that you can start seeds outside.

Guest's picture

An old girl scout craft. Using a 2 liter bottle, cut out two 2 1/2 inch wide by 3 1/2 inch high rectangles. These are opposite each other about 1 inch from the bottom. Fill the bottom with bird seed and hang from the bottle neck as a feeder. Perfect for smaller birds. They can perch on the edge while feeding.

Guest's picture
Zach S.

It's neat how the guy can heat (not boil) the plastic bottle of tea in a wood fire without it melting and all, but I would suggest that you don't do it. . . Ever.

I'm not a doctor or anything, but I imagine that heating your drink in plastic with an open flame probably puts toxins into the liquid.

Also, if you are camping and you need to boil water in order to sanitize it, you're not going to be able to do it efficiently in a sealed container.

Unless you find a way to believe that this method of heating your drink doesn't cause any chemicals from the cooking plastic to be released into your beverage, there is no reason to do it.

Guest's picture

actually boiling water (even in a sealed container) will sanitize it enough to be safe to drink. Boiling kills the germs and micro-organisms. The germs (their remains) will still be in there but they will not cause sickness if they are dead. Even in an open container the germs and their remains would be still in the water (they don't just float into the air. the boiling process is the sanitizing factor not the fact of it being sealed or not.

Guest's picture

This was great and, yes, I wouldn't do the heating plastic thing. But now can anyone point me to reuses for contact lens cases? You know, the little two-compartment ones about 3 inches wide that you get free with contact lens solution and every time you visit your optometrist for new lenses, until they threaten to overrun your bathroom storage? Some folks have mentioned using them in your travel washbag to carry small amounts of moisturizer, lip gloss, etc. Any other ideas?

Guest's picture

It would be great if the contact lens solution companies would have a recycling program. I would think if the cases are sterile they could be reused. I would pay extra for a solution that offered such a program.

Guest's picture

hey, you could use them as a tablets container, maybe for a couple of emergency painkillers or daily tablets.

Guest's picture

it's amazing . you have cretivity.

Guest's picture

...encouraging people to use weed killer on their lawns - regardless of the recycled implements - really isn't a very good idea.

Guest's picture
guinea pig

I'm just wondering how to do it since we have lots of empty plastic bottle in the house. I want to have a new pet,pair of guinea pigs. I just want to customize the cage as well as the water bottle because a pair of guinea pig here in the Philippines is a bit pricey.We experiencing global financial crisis nowadays, so I came with the idea of recycling which I think a good idea.hehe and if I did a good job,ill tell you guys the step by step procedure. lol.or anyone here could possibly tell me on how to?lol-"Mabuhay tayong lahat! Proud to be Pinoy!"
From Laguna,Philippines.

Guest's picture

This is a a great article and videos of the many uses of bottle storage, thanks for sharing. I think that many people forget that plastic bottles can be used over and over again for storage uses especially.

Guest's picture

i make lemonade!

Guest's picture
John Murphy

I could not give a crap about the ""environment""...the trillions of insects/chemical producing sea creatures on "Mother Earth" produce a larger amount of toxic chemicals (killing eachother, birds, animals, humans and sealife) in 1 Day than all nations/companies/militaries/medical facilities/etc. do in a 2 Year period.

It is clear that "nature" is a bigger threat to "nature" than we "humans" are.

American Waste...such as rope, twine, bottles (Glass and Plastics), nylon, metal cans, plastic bags, polymers and other items which are dumped into the ocean and find thier way into Third World countries SAVE LIVES. These pieces of garbage are used in 100's of different ways (especially in South America and by the South Pacific Islander nations). Africans do recieve these items through different ocean currents...but seem to just sit under trees starving to death waiting for a U.N. handout rather than making use of the trash they have access to.

Guest's picture

So glad I made the switch from plastic to reusable. I got tired of emptying my trash can every few days because of the massive amount of plastic water bottles occupying it. Finally found a glass water bottle that doesn't end up in my kitchen cupboard after a few months. Love my Rive bottle :)

Guest's picture

I have cut the top out of 2 liter soda bottles, buy some tomato seeds, and plant them in there for a year round garden.