Worried that you – and your collection of plastic containers – may be doing harm to the planet from your home? Living more sustainably is a great eco-friendly goal, but transitioning towards a plastic-free household is a gradual process. If you have a lot of plastic items that you’re actively phasing out (but that you don’t want to just throw straight in the recycling bin), get creative by upcycling plastic containers into useful, fun and even stylish items with these innovative plastic recycling ideas.
Hold Your Hand Sanitizer
Keeping your hands clean has never been more important, so we’re all using a lot more hand sanitizer nowadays. To make it convenient at home, keep a supply within reach in every room – but you don’t want to buy a bunch of small plastic bottles. Whether you buy sanitizer in bulk or make your own DIY version (here’s a how-to), you can wash old bottles of hand soap or beauty products to upcycle plastic containers for your personal hand sanitizer supply.
Make it a Game
Learning how to recycle plastic can be really fun for families – especially if you make a game of it. Whether it’s for your backyard or for your living room, try making a giant game of chess or checkers with clean plastic bottles. For bonus points, have kids paint or decorate the bottles to make special game pieces. Here’s an example of a giant backyard game board (created by the Backyard Builds team) to inspire you.
Plastic for Your Pegboard
Double your fun. This cool DIY pegboard storage system from Backyard Builds‘ Brian McCourt and Sarah Keenleyside solves two problems at once: it makes it easy to get your garage or craft room organized, while simultaneously upcycling old plastic containers like pop bottles. By repurposing plastic bottles into clever see-through storage for small items like nails, screws or even dog treats, you can stay organized while giving old plastic new life.
Bring on the Beneficial Bugs
Beneficial bugs and pollinators can be good for your garden, and you can make use of a recycled plastic bottle and straws to build a insect house (or hotel!)
Bottle Up a Balcony Herb Garden
is a great way to bring fresh flavour into your cooking – and you don’t need to spend a lot of money on containers and pots. Instead, use recycled plastic containers to create an herb garden on your balcony or windowsill for a green alternative.
From living walls to hanging planters, we’re all getting more and more creative about finding ways to grow plants in our home’s smaller spaces – and that creativity pairs perfectly with recycling plastic in your home, too. A DIY vertical garden made from upcycled plastic bottles (here’s a how-to from Backyard Builds‘ Brian McCourt and Sarah Keenleyside) is a great way to add a stylish, space-saving element to your home’s outdoor space.
Transform Old Toys
Similarly, recycling non-functional plastic toys into vessels for a container garden is a fun way to give old plastic new purpose. Have toys that can’t be recycled or used for storage? This fun DIY from Worst to First‘s Catherine Yuen turns plastic toys into stylish bookend decorations.
Teach your kids about how to recycle plastic – and save money – by repurposing plastic containers and bottles into crafting and art supplies instead of throwing them in the trash. One fun idea for a rainy afternoon? Cut plastic pop bottles in half (make sure the edges aren’t sharp), and then have kids paint on fun patterns or animal-face designs. Once dry, use the customized bottles as a special holder for kids’ paintbrushes or pencil crayons.
Another way to double up on your green-living lifestyle? Make your own DIY cleaning products – and store them in upcycled plastic containers instead of buying new bottles.