Practical Uses of Empty Plastic Bottles

Pinoys are no strangers to pollution. In fact, we seem to be so accustomed to seeing, dumping, and living with garbage that sadly it doesn’t bother us as much as it should. However, we need to step up. If only we’re as dedicated to catch all of them Pokemons as disposing garbage properly and recycling materials, our country would be a much better, cleaner place for all of us.

Although we can’t clean streets, rivers, seas even our homes in one day, we can start with the little things. Just take an empty plastic bottle of softdrink  for example. There are plenty of ways we can re-use it, so that it doesn’t end up in some landfill or estero waiting countless eons to decompose or worse in the intestines of some water animal that died trying to digest the foreign object.

All of these points we raise below aren’t new. Actually, many of us already know hw to re-use plastic bottles. This list generally serves as a gentle reminder, that hey, you can do more with an empty bottle of a 1.5-liter Coke than throwing it in the bin, or worse, some place where it can do more harm than good.
Container for Liquids
10. Container for Liquids
After pouring out the last drop of Coke from its container, think about what else you can do with the bottle before you decide on dumping it into the bin. How about stripping that empty bottle of grape juice of its tag and turn it into a container for drinking water you can chill in the ref. For some families or individuals who can’t afford to buy containers for fetching and storing water, they’ll have to settle for empty bottles of softdrinks, ketchup and other condiments. Remember when re-using plastic bottles for food or drink, never use containers previously used for toxic or poisonous substances. Do give the bottle a good washing, and if possible, sterilize before re-using.
Ornate Organizer
9. Ornate Organizer
Plastic bottles aren’t sosyal, true, but would you rather be a contributor to pollution just for the sake of being sosyal? Actually, going green is sosyal if you come to think about it and if you’re creative enough. If you don’t like the natural color or look of the plastic bottle, cut it, carve it, paint it or adorn it. Turn it into an accessory tower, an art supplies organizer, or even a spice/condiment container complete with labels. Find inspiration from the Internet. You’ll be amazed at how much prettier and more sosyal re-used bottles have become after someone went of their way and make the transformation happen.
Scoop or Dipper
8. Scoop or Dipper
As a Pinoy having gone to a public market, you should’ve seen this. Vendors of mung beans, rice, corn grits and even salt repurpose plastic bottles by cutting one side off and turning them into scoops or dippers for their merchandise. It’s a great way to re-use cracked, broken or empty bottles, at the same time, saves money which is otherwise used to buy brand-new dippers and helps minimize non-biodegradable waste.
Plant Pot
7. Plant Pot
Repurposing plastic bottles into plant pots is commonly done in government offices and public schools. Some homes are also doing it. When haphazardly done, the planters may look messy and boring, but when arranged properly, repainted or decorated, it will actually look amazing. Since most plastic bottles are small, they’re only meant to hold smaller plants such as herbs, succulents, and small bushes.
Paint Stamp
6. Paint Stamp
The caps and bottoms of plastic bottles may be used as paint stamp to create artworks of colored circles, stars or flowers. When banana trees used to thrive in the urban areas, art teachers would usually require students to use the trimmed branch of the banana tree as paint stamp. Today, making paint stamps out of plastic bottles and other recycled materials is very sensible and practical.
Costume or Prop
5. Costume or Prop
Watching Disney’s Art Attack, I noticed that the host used cut out plastic bottles to form a headdress and secure it using paper mache technique. The outcome was great, amazing even. If you make an online search for trashion, or plastic bottles as costume, you’ll find an array of options to re-use these humble materials into fashionable, cosplay-worthy prop, including key chains, masks and headdresses. If you’re goal is to depict an out-of-this world, futuristic look, plastic bottles may be the key.
Sculpted Décor
4. Sculpted Décor
Did you know that plastic bottles can be sculpted or carved into a creative work of art? All you need is a sharp cutter, maybe a safe heat source for dulling sharp edges and forming curves, and a good sense of imagination. Today, we can find mosaics, curtains, tabletop decors, napkin rings, giftwrapping accents, wreaths and tons of decorative materials made from repurposed plastic bottles. The results are so ornate and useful, you’d be surprised to know they were made from empty bottles of softdrinks.
Building Material
3. Building Material – walls, canopy, ottoman seat
Yes, you read that right. You can actually build a house and other small, simple structures using plastic bottles. All you need are tons of recycled plastic bottles (preferably of the same sizes for easier stacking), some mud, fine sand or maybe concrete, and a pair(s) of industrious hands. Again, a simple online search would provide you inspiring ideas on how to build and design bottle houses. Trust me, these bottle houses, when done right, are eco-friendly, sturdy, unique and may even be energy efficient, you won’t like to live in traditionally built houses anymore.
Makeshift Boat
2. Makeshift Boat
In a country frequented by heavy monsoon rains and typhoons, flooding becomes a major problem particularly in poorly zoned and heavily polluted cities and landslide-and-flood-prone areas. Floods would not be as bad if only the flow of water in sewers, rivers, and canals isn’t obstructed by garbage, including non-biodegradable plastic bottles. Ironically, a makeshift flotation device or boat made of plastic bottles can be used for search and rescue operation during flooding. And this is exactly what some Filipinos are currently doing – creating rescue boats out of a bunch of plastic bottles.
Eco-Friendly Lighting
1. Eco-Friendly Lighting  
Ever heard of a Liter of Light? It’s an innovative project based on the idea of Brazilian inventor, Alfredo Moser. Moser re-used plastic bottles, filled them with water and bleach and then hang them halfway into the roof so that it acts as a skylight. This light bulb made of plastic bottle is a costless, sustainable lighting that illuminates window-less and power-less houses normally found in slums and remote areas.

A certain Filipino by the name of Illac Diaz thought he can take Moser’s bottle light and turn it into a light source for both day and night. Taking Moser’s initial invention, Diaz added a small solar panel, LED lights, simple circuit, and battery and created what is now popularly known as Liter of Light’s solar-powered plastic bottle light bulb.

If you don’t fancy this amazing invention, well, you can still opt for chandelier implements made of repurposed plastic bottles. As stunning as they are, be careful not to place plastic materials near bulbs that heat up easily as they can burn the plastic and are a fire hazard.

Plastic bottles are everywhere. If you consume a bottle of softdrink or juice every day, you’d get 365 bottles a year. That’s (more than) enough recycled materials you can use to start (and complete) any of these projects listed here. If you have other exciting ideas on how to repurpose plastic bottles, don’t hesitate to share them with us. Also, do share this article with your friends as a gesture that you are for eco-friendliness and sustainability.

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