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Find 24 creative ideas and things to do with plastic containers!
Even if you try to live a zero waste lifestyle, chances are, you still produce (some) waste. And that’s okay!
Luckily, there are MANY cool things to do with plastic containers that you already have.
Plus, it is a great way to reduce your waste and save up some cash.
We will go through some of the most common plastic containers people have, including:
- Plastic bottles
- Small & medium plastic containers
- Large plastic containers
- Plastic bags
- Plastic cutlery
Additionally, we will end up with an FAQ section. Now, let’s begin!
24 Things To Do With Plastic Containers
This is a super fun yet straightforward DIY project.
You just need to cut the bottom of a 2-liter bottle.
Then, you can get creative and paint the bottle the colors of your choice, stick cool decorations, and add other features to it.
Then, fill the bottle with seeds and soil, and you are done!
For more details, you can watch this DIY tutorial from Adela B:
2. Piggy Bank
You can upcycle a plastic bottle into a piggy bank and start collecting $$.
You can paint the entire bottle or leave it transparent to see how your saving is progressing.
To find out exactly how to make a DIY plastic bottle piggy bank, you can follow the tutorial from Isa’s World:
3. Hanging bottle garden (Vertical garden)
This project is a fantastic idea if you are into gardening and if you have (or you can find) plenty of 2-liter soda bottles.
This vertical garden project is pretty simple to make and low-budget, too.
Plus, it doesn’t have to look ugly because you are using plastic bottles.
You can make it look pretty!
In addition to soda bottles, you’ll need a couple of other things, including scissors, some twine, paint (if you want to make them prettier), etc.
Check out the step-by-step instructions on how to create a vertical garden from recycled soda bottles from –
By T&V Home Garden:
4. Bird Feeder
Making a bird feeder is a fantastic and easy idea to repurpose a plastic bottle.
You will need a string, scissors, a pencil and of course, bird seeds.
Check out this easy step-by-step guide from Eco Sapien:
5. Self-watering system
Are you traveling often, or you simply have the habit of forgetting to water your plants?
To avoid killing them, you can DIY a self-watering system… with a plastic water bottle.
This trick is ideal for keeping your plants hydrated and happy.
Check the excellent guide that I found on youtube by Jugaad:
6. Pencil case
An ideal task for kids (or for crafty adults, too) is to reuse a small plastic bottle and to make a pencil case in no time.
The pencil case is with no-sew zippers, and you will need just a couple of things to make it.
You can follow the great step-by-step guide from Make It and Love It:
Making a terrarium is an enjoyable and creative DIY craft.
There are many tutorials on youtube showing you how to make one from a plastic bottle.
Check out for yourself, or click below and watch how NParksSG is making it:
SMALL/MEDIUM PLASTIC CONTAINERS:
8. Store pins
While many videos and articles give ideas on reusing plastic straws, most of them are pretty useless and not that cool (in my opinion).
An idea that I found kind of practical is to turn a straw into a bobby pin holder.
It can be helpful when you are traveling, and you don’t have a place to keep tiny objects like bobby pins.
This will prevent losing around the tiny bobby pins.
To secure the ends of the straw, simply bend and secure it with a bit of paper tape.
9. Gift/storage boxes
You can upcycle small plastic tins into cool-looking gift or storage boxes.
Check out how to make it with Dainty Diaries:
10. Tiny pill bottles
To upcycle pill bottles, use them to store shampoo, conditioner, and lotion when traveling.
They should be the right size to be approved by airline security.
You can also use tiny pill bottles for storage purposes, including categorizing drawers, keeping small hair ties and pins, etc.
11. Yogurt Containers
If the containers are tiny, you can use them to keep drawers organized.
Stash a few containers inside to hold small items like elastic bands, twist ties, coins, take-out packets, wine charms, candles, batteries, etc.
You can use yogurt containers to keep your fridge organized, too.
Place small items, like garlic cloves inside, to keep the refrigerator clean.
12. Strawberry (or similar) container
That type of containers can be useful to collect small items such as legos, small toys, craft supplies, brushes, etc.
Also, you can layer the container with a bit of paper (to avoid direct touching) and keep veggies inside your fridge.
This will prevent small pieces from the vegetables from spreading around and making the fridge dirty.
13. Mobile charging stand
This crafty mobile charging stand idea is very fast to make and it is, of course, cost-friendly.
To make it prettier, you can paint and decorate it as you wish. To make it, follow the tutorial here:
14. Plant pot
Often, when my granny propagates her plants, she gives them to me in a plastic container.
This is another simple way to reuse some of your smaller to medium plastic containers.
15. Cleaning spray bottle
If you DIY some of your cleaning products, you can keep them in an old spraying bottle for easy application.
I stopped buying cleaning products, as they are filled with toxins, and I found pretty cool DIY cleaning recipes.
When I rent a new apartment, there are often many cleaning bottles, so I tend to reuse the spray bottles for my DIY cleaning products.
BIGGER PLASTIC CONTAINERS:
16. Collect compost
If you end up with bigger plastic containers, you can repurpose them to store food scraps for your composting.
When it is full, add it to your compost pile, rinse the container and reuse it again.
If you aren’t composting, I highly recommend you to consider starting!
It is highly beneficial for our planet, and I promise you, it isn’t stinky or hard.
Related post: Apartment composting – 7 Easy Ways
Do you have a pet? If yes, you can make a scoop from a container for your pet’s food.
Use a measuring cup to measure out one serving of food, then pour that amount into the container.
Use a marker to mark how full the container is with one serving of food for quick and easy measuring.
Check this quick video from Toby Lerone on how to do it:
18. Store DIY laundry detergent
If you DIY your laundry detergent, or if you buy it in bulk, you can use bigger plastic juice jugs to keep it.
Their size is great for that purpose.
19. Bulk shopping
When it comes to bulk shopping, you can repurpose some of your bigger containers and fill them with something you tend to get a lot.
For example, I have a container (made of mixed materials) that had protein powder before.
I like the shape and the size of it, so I use it when buying nuts in bulk.
The last time I got peanuts in bulk:
Here’s another example where I use peanut butter container* for coffee in bulk:
*bought by my boyfriend
20. Store miscellaneous things
It can be anything – from smaller objects to bigger ones. Or ultimately, you can always reuse the bags for groceries.
21. Clean the showerhead
You can reuse a plastic bag to wash your showerhead.
Just fill it up with water, and add distilled white vinegar.
Use a rubber band to secure it around your shower head.
Let it soak for about an hour and then remove.
Rinse the showerhead with warm water.
22. Leftover food
You can reuse Ziploc bags or other thin plastic baggies for keeping leftover food.
You can also use them when you have guests, and you want to give them some food.
For example, a friend of mine gave me a few pieces of her apple crumble.
She used a plastic baggie that she reused from a coconut sugar package.
These plastic bags are safer for reusing because they were keeping food before that.
I do not recommend reusing plastic bags that weren’t intended for food storage. (more about that in the FAQ section)
To reuse a plastic bag more than once, wash it well by filling it with warm soapy water and then cleaning cloth or rag.
Place it on a dry surface, and leave it open to dry well.
23. Wrap shoes in luggage
When you want to bring an extra pair of shoes when traveling, you can place them in a bag.
This will help you to avoid messing your whole suitcase and spreading around dirty pieces that were possibly stuck in your shoes.
24. Eat with them again
Instead of throwing plastic cutlery out, you can wash and reuse them for another time.
While they are designed for single use only and may degrade with repeated washing and reusing, eating with them a couple more times won’t be the end of the world.
A good idea is to take them when you travel, or simply have them in your bag.
This can help to prevent getting more new single-use cutleries when you unexpectedly get some food.
What number of plastic is safe to reuse?
Usually, most plastic containers are meant for very short-term use.
That’s why you should check the number of the plastic.
If it’s #2, #4, or #5 – it should be safe to reuse. However, all plastic products can leach toxic chemicals when heated or damaged, so be careful with the heat exposure.
Another good indicator to follow is the date on the package.
It is there to inform until when the contents AND the container are safe to use.
Do not use plastic items in close contact with food, especially after the expiration date.
Which number of plastic isn’t safe to reuse?
You aren’t supposed to reuse plastics with numbers – #1, #3, #6, and #7.
Avoid reusing plastics with these numbers in close contact with food.
When should you recycle the plastic containers?
Recycle the plastic containers when you see cracks, scuffs, scratches, or once they become cloudy or discolored.
These containers are not designed to last forever, and they need to be replaced over time.
To extend their usage, avoid exposing the containers to excessive heat or sunlight.
Why we should REDUCE the use of plastics?
We get the vast majority of plastics from non-renewable fossil fuels, by processing oil to obtain the raw material for plastics.
From 1950 to 2012, plastics production increased – from about 1.7 million tons to nearly 300 million tons per year. (source)
What’s even worse, a massive amount of this plastic waste (~40%) is single-use packaging.
So, we waste tons of resources and energy to use things ONCE and to dispose of them afterward.
While reusing and upcycling plastic is great, the BEST thing we can all do is to REDUCE our plastic consumption altogether.
I hope this article gave you plenty of ideas to reuse plastic containers safely.
If I missed a cool upcycling idea, make sure to share it in the comments below.
Also, which one is your favorite one from this list?
Let me know!