4 Ways to Upcycle Plastic Bottles


Many of us survive off of bottled water and often drink other beverages out of plastic bottles. And, they’re hard to avoid.

Quite simply, it’s difficult and expensive to satiate all your thirsty needs with beverages packaged in glass, especially if you travel a lot. But even when you use plastic bottles, there are ways to extend their life cycle beyond one beverage.

Oftentimes, local faucet water quality is low enough to raise safety concerns, making bottled water the next best option – to say nothing of the convenience of an on-the-go plastic bottle beverage. However, the result of plastic bottle usage is that we are filling landfills with waste that could otherwise be re-used. Not to mention the health risks associated with exposure to plastic.

Here are 4 unique and fun ways to upcycle plastic bottles.

Before we dive into what you can do with used plastic bottles, let’s look at where we are today with a few astonishing statistics. Some 50 billion bottles of water are purchased each year, and despite existing recycling programs, 80 percent of these bottles end up in landfills. About 17 million barrels of oil are used to make bottled water annually. Bottled water costs 1,000 times more than tap water and the plastic leaches toxins into the water, which has been linked to reproductive problems and even cancer.

Upcycled Ideas for Plastic Bottles

1. Decorative Flowers

Cut off the bottom end of the plastic bottle, a few inches up its length. Then, use scissors to cut strips, from the cut edge to just below the cap. Fray the strips by pulling them up and flattening them, creating a petal-like effect. Use a marker or paint to decorate the “petals” and you’ve got yourself a flower. Make several flowers and connect them together with wire to hang them around the house or in kids’ rooms.

2. Water Sprinkler

This is just pure genius. Attach the top of the bottle with the end of a hose. Fasten the two together so that the hose perfectly enters the bottle without any leakage and that it is exceptionally secure in place. Poke holes at the bottle of the plastic bottle and turn on the water. This apparatus can be used to water plants or for play.

3. Paint Project

The bottom of most plastic bottles also has a flower appearance. Dip the bottom of plastic bottles into various colored paints and press them against paper to create consistent flower designs. This is a great craft activity for children who will be proud of their clean-cut and colorful designs!

4. Food Storage

If you don’t have a Zip-Lock bag around, take a regular plastic bag and make your own seal-savvy feature. Cut the top of plastic bottles a few inches down the throat. Store grains, legumes and other food products in a plastic bag and push the top of the bag through the underside of the cut plastic bottle and up through the open top. Press the edges of the bag down and over the edges of the circular opening and secure the cap. You’ve got yourself an easy-to-open-and-close, tightly-sealed storage bag.

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Photo Credit: Steven Depolo