8 clever ways to reuse plastic bottles

Back in 2019, we shared five reuse ideas for single-use plastic bottles on the blog, and a lot of you found it helpful.

Today, we are back with eight more clever ways to reuse your plastic bottles.

The bottles used for bottled water and other drinks are sadly intended to be single-use, so avoiding them altogether would be the best move for the environment.

However, we know that, realistically, a plastic bottle may be the only way for you to purchase your favourite drink on the go.

In which case, why not reuse the bottle when it’s empty and clean — giving it another lease of life, rather than sending it straight for recycling?

Why should you not reuse water bottles as water bottles?

When it comes to the reuse of bottles for drinks, it has been found that reuse of a (single-use) water bottle is less than ideal due to toxins in the plastic; they simply weren’t designed for reuse in this manner.

You may wish to reuse your bottles for drinks a few times, but as soon as the bottle becomes damaged in any way, it’s time to retire it as a drinking vessel and instead upcycle it using one of the ideas below.

How to reuse plastic bottles

Below you’ll find eight creative ways to repurpose your plastic bottles.

1.      Egg separator

If you enjoy cooking and baking, then this idea is for you.

Whenever a recipe calls for just an egg yolk or just egg white, then you can grab your clean bottle, place the opening of the bottleneck on the yolk, and squeeze the bottle.

The yolk then gets sucked up into the bottle, leaving you free to deposit it wherever you need to.

This method is much easier than separating the yolk in the eggshell or in a bowl with a fork or spoon.

2.      A bag sealer

In the kitchen and when out and about, we all open bags of food and then need to reseal them to save the contents for later.

Often, we turn to bag clips for this situation or transfer the bag’s contents to another container with a lid.

Instead, you can cut the neck off a plastic bottle (with a little of the shoulders included) and then remove the lid, push the bag through the neck, open it around and over the neck, and then replace the lid.

This method should create an airtight and watertight seal.

Don’t send the rest of the bottle for recycling yet; you can reuse that in other ways — including the next idea.

3.      A pencil case

You can easily use the bottom halves of two bottles to create a unique pencil case — in fact, these storage cases can hold anything you like.

The joy of this reuse idea is that you can choose how wide, slender, tall or short your storage case will be.

All you need are two clean and empty plastic bottles of the same dimensions, a zip that fits the circumference of the bottles, hot glue, and scissors.

You can find full details for making this pencil case on the Make It & Love It website.

4.      A watering can

A green plastic bottle top with holes in it, on a white background

This idea is simple and only takes minutes to make but can be a real helper in the garden.

To make life easier when watering, you might wish to use a plastic bottle with a handle for this project, such as a large milk bottle.

All you need to do is make holes in the lid of your bottle with something sharp (a metal BBQ skewer would be ideal), then fill the bottle with water and replace the lid.

5.      A foodie gift

Often, foodie gifts providing all of the ingredients and a recipe for a sweet treat are given in glass bottles.

Why not make your foodie gifts extra eco-friendly this year by gifting them in an otherwise single-use plastic bottle?

Alone, it might not look beautiful, but you can spruce it up with some brown paper, string, ribbons and labels.

If you do add these things, try to choose reusable or recyclable decorations.

6.      Musical shakers

If you are a teacher or have kids, then this project is a fun idea for you.

Fill your bottles with various dry fillings — examples include chickpeas and rice. You can also create different shaped shakers by chopping the bottles down.

Next, replace the lid (or make a new bottle end) and cover the entire bottle in coloured or patterned duct tape to ensure the filling stays inside the bottle when the musical shakers are used.

7.      A terrarium

A fun idea for kids and adults alike, a terrarium is a beautiful way to reuse an otherwise unwanted plastic bottle.

Being plastic, the terrarium will be less likely to break, be lighter to move from place to place, and have a built-in lid.

You can learn how to make a plastic bottle terrarium on the Soul Flower website.

8.      A scoop

An orange plastic bottle being held in the air by a hand, with a dotted line that shows where to cut the bottle in order to create a scoop

If you have pets or buy food in bulk, then a scoop could be very helpful for you.

You’ll need a bottle with a handle for this project.

In just one step you’ll have a scoop: just cut the bottom section of the bottle off, as shown in the image below.


Another use for old plastic bottles is the creation of eco-bricks. You can read all about it in our blog post entitled ‘How and why to create eco bricks’.

Published by

Lucy Ravenhall

Lucy is a long-standing editor of the Forge Recycling blog and loves writing about her environmental passions.