Things to Make From Plastic Bottles – 3 New Ideas!
They are everywhere, so we need to think of new things to make from plastic bottles! They are not going to go away and these days even if you don’t buy any soda drinks it is really easy to collect some empty bottles if you want to. But who wants to fill their house up with plastic bottles? Well actually they are made from really high quality materials and can easily be cut up and made into a wide variety of useful or artistic objects. Failing that, recycle them…but never throw them out with your general garbage as that is just such a huge waste. Read on to discover two new things to make from plastic bottles that will be compared with their equivalents on Amazon so you can see how much money it is possible to save with a little creativity!
History of the Plastic Bottle:
The humble plastic bottle was first used commercially in 1947, but at that time was too expensive to go into mass production. During the 1960’s polythene bottles were introduced and these soon started to take over from glass bottles since they were cheaper, lighter (lower transport and distribution costs) and much more robust. Most of the plastic drinks bottles we see in the shops today are made from Polyethylene Teraphthalate or PET for short! This is used for both still and carbonated drinks since it has a high tensile strength, can withstand impacts, does not let gas or liquid in or out and can withstand temperatures up to 93C. Since PET bottles are in everyday use, and because the resin they are made from is high quality and relatively expensive, there is a large recycling business. Strangely the end product from this recycling is often not more bottles but carpet fibers! However, with some ingenuity we can also come up with original recycling ideas of our own…there are simply hundreds of things to make from plastic bottles….
This link provides a great source of ideas and inspiration:
Clearly some of the ideas are more aesthetic and practical than others, but if you spend a little time and certainly no money, then you can create some things that are useful and really do save money.
1: Self Watering Pots:
The kitchen windowsill is such a great place to park a few herb plants so that they are convenient to use in cooking and salads. However, they are often easy to overlook and can get neglected. So one of the really useful things to make from plastic bottles is a neat row of self watering pots!
- Carefully make a small hole in the side of the bottle and using sharp scissors cut the top part off to make the pot… recycle the lid
- Then tidy up the bottom part to make the water reservoir
- Most bottles have ridges or indentations of some kind that can help act as a guide so that you cut in a straight line
- Put some pebbles in the neck of the “pot” to stop the compost falling into the water… then just put up your plant as normal
- In the picture I have just used some mint roots dug up from the garden
- Experiment with the water level so that the compost gets wet but is not completely saturated
- Put a small piece of BBQ charcoal in the water to keep it fresh
Of course you can also pay money and buy self watering pots and here are some examples of what they look like and how much they cost:
2: Fresh Herb Storage Jars:
Continuing with the kitchen theme it is just great to have a bunch of fresh herbs on hand to make to a quick herbal tea or to add to cooking. Sadly fresh herbs from the garden or the supermarket wilt very quickly. What they need is a moist humid atmosphere and then they will keep for several days. If you stick them in the fridge they soon turn into a slimy mess and latest research shows that both plants and vegetables stored in the fridge lose vitamin content since they are in the dark.
- Basically you need to make the same cuts as you did to make the self watering pot… but in this case you keep the lid!
- Try to find a bottle with an indent in the middle so that the top half will then fit inside the bottom half neatly
- Just experiment with the dimensions until you get something that looks good to you and is appropriate for the size of herbs that you have
- To use just put a LITTLE water in the bottom… rinse the herbs and bung them in… then just put the lid on
- Store in a light place but out of direct sunlight otherwise the interior will heat up too much and spoil your herbs
Can you believe that people will really pay this much money to buy herb storage jars when they only take five minute to make from plastic bottles!
3: An Effective Slug Barrier:
Are your vegetables and flowers getting gobbled up by slugs and snails? Yes you can make a beer trap and some of them will drown. You can also become a Slug Hunter and go out at night with a torch and just pick up as many as you can find. If you are really desperate you might even resort to slug pellets… the modern ones are non-toxic for pets and wildlife, but who wants to add more chemicals to the environment? So is there a simpler and cheaper alternative? Yes, plastic bottles have a nice smooth and slippery surface which slugs and snails are not able to climb up so can be used to make a great anti slug barrier for individual plants and seedlings….
- Carefully cut the top and bottom off any size of plastic bottle to form a tube
- Next, cut it open
- Finally cut the tube into sleeves about 3 inches or 8cm tall. You should get 3 sleeves from a large bottle
- Place one sleeve over each seedling or plant you want to protect. Since there is a slit down one side you can easily remove them later.
- Make sure the sleeve is pushed well into the soil or else the slugs will slither underneath!
Not only do these plastic sleeves provide great protection from slugs but they also act like a mini-greenhouse to protect the seedlings and help them get established more quickly. Having the slit down one side means that you can easily remove the sleeves when the plants are big enough to survive on their own, and it also makes storing them a doddle… you can just stack them inside each other! Just make sure that you rinse the plastic slug barriers before you use them again since they work best when the plastic is really clean and slippery! There are just so many different things to make from plastic bottles… all useful and all for free!
So take a Frugal Tip from the MeanyGoat and get your Recycling Thinking Cap on! It is really important to recycle as much as we can, but that doesn’t always mean just sorting the stuff out and going to the bottle bank once a week: if you can make something useful, you are recycling something old AND saving money and resources by not buying something new!
NB… always take a lot of care when cutting plastic bottles… it is very difficult to make the first hole but all too easy to spike your finger or hand!
What are your favorite things to make from plastic bottles?Print This Post