5 Super Clever and Easy DIY Ideas to Repurpose Everyday Recyclables

Easy repurposing ideas.

From baby food jars to liquor bottles, get inspired to with these easy repurposing ideas to upcycle your empties.

In our mass consumerism culture, it’s all too easy to buy just what we think we need. But go back a generation or two and people made do a little more with what they had. I remember my grandfather stored about a gazillion different kinds of nails, screws, and bolts in glass baby food jars he collected. And my grandmom repotted clippings from her house plants in coffee cans until they grew big enough to replant.

Of course, today, it’s possible to order something handy from IKEA, Target, or Amazon and get it almost the next day, but what’s wrong with repurposing what we have on hand? Absolutely nothing. In fact, repurposing may actually be a virtue. At the very least, repurposing ideas are a lost skill (or art) that, with a little inspiration and practice, most of us can get the hang of easy enough.

Now, you could recycle all those empties jars and containers, but depending on the material, repurposing may actually be better for the planet. Not all materials are as easy to recycle as others and may be better being reused. Of course, not creating any waste in the first place is ideal, but just not nearly as attainable. The key is to reduce what you can, reuse and repurpose what you can, and recycle wherever possible–and in that order.

Get inspired by these repurposing ideas.

5 Repurposing Ideas for Everyday Recyclables

  1. Liquor, Beer, and Wine Bottles – Reuse liquor bottles in actually pretty simple. Add a pump to turn your vodka bottle into a hand soap dispenser, create a succulent planter from an empty Sapphire Bombay bottle, spray paint empty wine bottles to use as bud vases, or make handmade candles from beer bottles that have been cut in half.
  2. Medicine Bottles – Whether you take preventive medicine for migraines, or you need antibiotics to get over that sinus infection, many of us end up with empty prescription bottles. They can be repurposed as handy bottles for storing everything from quarters in the car to carry jewelry while traveling. Definitely hold onto these bottles, as you will find yourself needing to store something tiny securely.
  3. Glass Jars – So, you don’t make homemade sauce or salsa, so what? You can repurpose those glass jars, though. Use them to store your colored Sharpies, turn them into mini-terrariums, or decorate them with glass paints and an add votive candles to create magical mood lighting. They are also pretty handy for making salad-in-a-jar lunches too!
  4. Cereal Boxes  – While the rest of the world has gone gluten-free, some of us still eat cereal for breakfast. While cardboard is pretty easy to recycle, those cereal boxes can come in handy around the house. Cut them up and cover them with gift wrap to make homemade gift tags or bookmarks. They can also be used to make a homework storage boxes for kids or are a great way to store paper dolls, coloring books, and crayons in the car.
  5. Plastic Bottles – You might think there’s not much to be done to repurpose plastic bottles like lotion or shampoo bottles, but think again. Here’s a simple how-to for making a hanging cell phone charger from a lotion bottle–and another one for making a hanging storage bins system!

Related on EcoSalon

7 Quirky Ideas for Repurposing Vintage Home Decor Goods
Reuse Around the Home: 15 Ideas for Repurposing Furniture
13 Creative DIY Garden Planters to Make Your Garden Green(er)

Bombay Sapphire Planter via Rehabulous

Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life by writing about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, decorating, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.