Bottled water, fizzy drinks and lotions - plastic bottles can be impossible to avoid when shopping. You might think you're doing your bit by recycling used plastic bottles, but did you know that a shocking 91% of plastic isn't recycled?
Until manufacturers make crucial changes to packaging, the best way to reduce the damage all of the plastic you use has on the environment is to upcycle it! Most of us have heard of reusing and upcycling plastic bags, but have you tried transforming your old plastic bottles. Today we're sharing how you can do exactly that, with practical uses and fun crafts for all the family.
1. Make Ecobricks
Ecobricks are a new solution for plastic waste. Take a plastic bottle and start filling with clean, dry plastics. The Ecobricks can be used to build structures and furniture but, most importantly, they reduce the amount of plastic destined for landfill.
2. Kitchen storage
Left with countless open packets in your kitchen cupboards? Plastic bottles make the perfect container, and they're much easier to pour from. Just transfer things like rice, pasta, and sugar into clean and dry plastic bottles. If you're feeling fancy, you can even add some labels.
3. Sturdy pencil case
Marino4ka from DIYpedia shows us how you can make a sturdy pencil case by attaching the ends of two bottles together. Make sure one end is longer than the other and also long enough to house pens and pencils. Use a zip to join the two together.
4. Watering can
How handy is this! If you don't have a watering can, or if your kids love water play, you can make your own with a large plastic bottle. Simply fill the bottle with water and drill or punch some holes into the lid.
5. Plant pots
Megan from One Little Project decided to make these adorable plant pots for her succulents out of plastic bottles. You could also cut out some ears and turn your plastic bottle pots into animals.
6. Herb garden
Grow your own herb garden on your window sill using plastic bottles as planters. Simply cut off the bottom of the bottle, fill with soil and add seeds. Put different herbs in each plastic pot for variation.
7. Gardening tools
Gardening tools can be expensive, but now you can make your own! WOW DIY even added spray paint to make them look more like the real deal. Wouldn't these be great for kids?
8. Camera lens cap
If you've ever lost a lens cap, you'll know the struggle! Save your lens from getting scratched by using the end of a plastic bottle to cover it until you can pick up a replacement cap.
9. Piggy bank
Save your money with this sweet DIY by Rebecca from She Knows. The screw top is perfect for retrieving the money at a later date, so you can use this piggy over and over again.
10. Noughts & crosses
Break boredom and take this classic game everywhere with you. Save at least 9 bottle tops and spray paint them in two different colours. Add noughts and crosses to the flat surface with paint or marker pen.
11. Phone holder
Don't have anywhere to rest your phone whilst it's plugged in? Fashion yourself a phone holder out of a plastic bottle. Ashley from Make It & Love It found an old lotion bottle was perfect for holding an iPhone.
Get your garden growing with this easy DIY sprinkler. Pierce lots of holes in a plastic bottle and attach it to the end of your hose. The water will be diverted through the holes and will give your lawn just the right dose of water.
13. Bird feeder
Kelly from Here Comes The Sun made this lovely bird feeder from a plastic bottle and a couple of wooden spoons. The holes in the bottle allow a little bit of seed mix to fall onto the spoon at a time.
14. Snack bowls
Don't be caught out next time you throw a party! You can make snack bowls using leftover plastic bottles. All you need to do is cut off the end. You could melt the plastic edge a little using an iron to give it a more polished look. Don't forget to wash the bowls out before filling with snacks!
15. Mini Greenhouse
Can't afford a proper greenhouse? Use large plastic bottles to make your own just like Ananda from A Piece Of Rainbow! Cut off the bottom of the bottle and pop it over plants that need the extra warmth. Leave the bottle cap off so that the plants don't get too warm.
16. DIY vase
Ever been given too many flowers? No, neither have we! But if you do ever find yourself in this position, you can easily make a stand-in vase from a plastic bottle. Cut off the top and drop some pebbles inside to stop it from toppling over.
17. Paint stamp
Looking for an easy way to paint a masterpiece? The bottom of an old plastic bottle makes the perfect flower paint stamp. Load it up with paint and carefully dab onto a piece of paper. Add some stems or a branch to complete the masterpiece.
18. Upcycle packaging
Gifting baked goods is a good idea, but they can be tricky to present without giving away all of your favourite containers. Next time, use plastic bottles! Jeromina from Paper, Plate, And Plane shared her method, using cardboard and washi tape to make it look polished.
19. Mosaic artwork
This idea is great for kids! Save up all of your old bottle tops - the more colourful the better - and use them to create stunning mosaic designs. Glue them onto paper, a more sturdy surface, or leave them as they are so you can recreate new mosaic patterns over and over again.
20. Wasp trap
Wasps can be such a nuisance! Try this DIY trap by Alison from Prairie Story. Cut off the top of a plastic bottle and attach it, upside down inside the base. Place the traps far away from frequented spots, as it will attract wasps to the area.
To bait the trap, you could use a sweet liquid, but this will likely also trap honey bees. Meat will attract wasps, but shouldn't attract bees.
21. Umbrella holder
Instead of dropping your soaking wet umbrella on the floor, make a simple umbrella holder. Cut the top off of a plastic bottle, large enough to hold your umbrella. This works best for small, fold up umbrellas rather than parasol ones.
Poke some holes into the bottle so that the umbrella can dry properly. Attach some string to hang the bottle up in a cupboard or over the back of a car seat.
22. Finger guard
If you just can't get to grips with food preparation, make this handy kitchen tool. We bet you hadn't thought of that!
23. Yolk seperator
No more fiddling about with eggshells! Use a bottle to remove the yolk in seconds. Crack the egg into a bowl and gently squeeze the bottle over the yolk. Expand the bottle to extract the yolk from the egg white. Easy.
24. Bubble snake blower
Jen from Mum In The Mad House shared the wonderful idea to turn old plastic bottles into fun bubble makers. Simply cut off the end of the bottle and attach a piece of cloth or an old sock to the end with an elastic band.
Dip the cloth into bubble mixture and blow into the bottleneck to create a neverending snake.
What's the best thing you've ever upcycled from plastic bottles? Let us know in the comments below.