5 ways to use old plastic bottles creatively

Want to grow some Italian herbs or a lemon tree? Collect your empty plastic bottles! There are so many ways you can recycle them sustainably, in the house or garden.

5 ways to get creative with empty plastic bottles   

We all know we must be mindful how we dispose of plastic. Most of us take our plastic waste to be recycled, use cloth bags when we’re shopping, and try to live sustainably.

But what about empty plastic bottles? Do they have to go to the recycling container – or are there other ways to use them sustainably? Read on to discover our creative ideas!

1. Vertical garden 

If you have an outdoor wall that you’d like to decorate, you can create a vertical garden and grow some herbs, flowers or even small vegetables. Simply cut a rectangle out of one surface of an empty plastic bottle, leaving the screw cap on. Using the pointed end of your scissors, poke two small holes into the opposite side of the bottle, for drainage.

Fill the bottle with potting earth or garden soil, pressing it in lightly, scatter on some herb seeds, and water. String the bottle horizontally along an exterior wall, preferably where it will be in the sunlight for a few hours a day. Herbs like a little water every day and they grow very quickly – so you’ll soon be able to use the leaves in your Italian dishes.

2. Starter pots for seedlings

Cut an empty plastic bottle into an attractive shape, paint and decorate it, and add a small hole at the bottom for drainage. Add some soil and herb or spice seeds and give it a good amount of water. Children love looking after plants and watching them grow, and it’s a good way to introduce them to herbs. Try characteristic Italian herbs such as basil and rosemary – and let the children pick a few leaves when you’re cooking together.

Alternatively, grow a small orange or lemon tree! Soak some seeds overnight in water and plant them about 1 cm deep in moist potting soil. Cover the pot with a plastic bag or wrap, and let it sit in a warm and sunny spot for a few weeks until the seeds start to grow.


3. Bird feeder   

Another way to reuse plastic bottles sustainably: cut some round holes in the bottle, large enough to be able to push through two wooden spoons you don’t use any more. The holes should be a little larger than the spoons. Fill the empty bottle with fine bird feed and make sure a small amount of seed trickles out onto the spoons. Hang your bird feeder in the garden from a convenient tree – and watch the birds arrive.

4. Decoration with bottle caps   

This can be as simple or as sophisticated as you choose! Collect bottle caps until you have enough, then place them on a flat surface to work out your design before gluing them into place. You can also embellish paintings with the bottle tops, to add colour, texture and dimension to images and shapes.

5. Bits and pieces organiser

Finally, a simple but very effective way to use the lower half of empty plastic bottles. Cut them to the height you’d like them to be, paint and decorate them, or leave them plain.

Use these useful little containers to store and organise paper clips, erasers, pins and rubber bands on your desk; jewellery, hair clips and other small objects in the bedroom; and beauty products, samples and makeup in the bathroom.

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