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12 Plastic Bottle Recycling Ideas

Originally contributed by Stacey Nash • last updated 2/11/2021

OhOh Deco

Milk jugs, water bottles, and soda pop bottles keep piling up in  your recycling? A few plastic bottle recycling ideas could help you put all that plastic to use. Recycling can mean more than packing it all up for your local recycling center. Children’s art projects, planters, and awe-inspiring art can come from an ordinary plastic bottle. Even we were surprised by the creative uses for empty plastic water bottles! 

They may look ordinary, but with a little imagination, plastic bottles can do anything from lighting up your home or housing an herb garden.


No-Sew Zipper Cases

Make It and Love It
Make It & Love It

This plastic bottle craft idea by Make It and Love It turns trash into a waterproof(ish) storage container. It’s a great way to keep a kid’s (or your) arts and crafts supplies organized. The zipper, which doesn't take any sewing skills, securely closes the bottles, making them a portable organization option too. The best part? If your kids break them, there’s always another plastic bottle to be found somewhere. You can also adjust the height based on what you want to store. 


Recycled Milk Jug Organizer

Karen from Sew Many Ways
Sew Many Ways

Milk jugs are a staple in any fridge that you can save and put to good use. This jug-turned-organizer from Sew Many Ways would work perfectly in a craft room, mudroom, or children’s bedroom. The containers are easy to use and dull-edged so they're a particularly fitting organization option for kids.  Store art supplies, small toys, or kids' outdoor accessories near an entry point for easy access.


Plastic Bottle Flowers

Crafts by Amanda

Plastic bottle flowers like these from Crafts by Amanda are one of our favorite plastic bottle recycling ideas for a lazy afternoon with the kids. You can make this one your own with different fabrics for a striped, argyle, or polka-dotted flower. Paint the lid, shape the petals, or fill the base with colorful stones to bring harmony to an eclectic recycling project. 


Fairy House Lights

Crafts by Amanda

These fairy house lights from  Crafts by Amanda let whimsy and creativity take over. Imagine them as lighting for a fairytale-themed birthday party or tea party with friends and family. Don't feel limited to fairy accessories. If you’ve got a collection of plastic bottles accumulating, dress them up with adult colors and trinkets to light up a patio party or classy barbeque.  


Plastic Bottle Wind Spinner

Crafts by Amanda

Why are these wind spinners from Crafts by Amanda so magical? Maybe it’s the endless color combinations and possibilities once the wind takes control. Or maybe it’s because they’re more than eye candy.  This colorful craft project can deter birds and, sometimes, squirrels, with its swirling colors and movement.   


Glow in the Dark Bowling

Crafts by Amanda

Before you send those bottles to the recycling center, use them for a fun party game. Simple, easy, and a crowd-pleaser for both kids and adults. This particular project Crafts by Amanda works with plastic bottles of all types, although you might have to use some extra ‘oomph’ to knock down milk jugs. When you're done, upcycle the bottles for something else like planters or storage containers. 


Fly Away with a Jet Pack

Doodle Craft

This plastic bottle recycling idea gives liter soda pop bottles one last chance at life. It doesn’t take much to turn them from boring into something otherworldly. Plastic bottles offer a surprising number of costume opportunities. Flip them over and ta-da!—oxygen tanks for a scuba diver. Who knew strapping on plastic bottles could be so fun?


Water Bottle Fish

There's Just One Mommyu

A play on the natural shape of the bottle opens the door to sea-inspired creations. Change up the colors and fin shapes to create a school of color. Hang them for a Nemo-inspired party or make them the party favor. You save money on party decorations and give the plastic bottle new life. 


Water Bottle Planters

handmade by Kelly

Recycling plastic bottles is eco-friendly in and of itself. This plastic bottle recycling idea counts as double eco-friendly. Turn those used water bottles into a portable planter. Use them to house an herb garden, tomato starts, or a houseplant. They’re a great size for seedlings, making it easy to transfer the start to a larger planter later on. 


Milk Jug Votives

bliss bloom blog

Melanie at  bliss bloom blog saw beauty where most of us see sour milk. These gorgeous votives take some work, but what a reward for patience (and serious hand strength). The plastic has a light transparency that creates interesting shadows and texture. They’d be perfect for an outdoor dinner or get together. 


Plastic Bottle Sprinkler

Housing a Forest

What can I make with an empty plastic bottle? Especially the ones that look a little worse for wear? A sprinkler can give that bottle a second life.   Your kids (or you) can go a little crazy with this one. There’s a certain amount of satisfaction that comes from poking holes in the plastic. You’ll need tape to attach it to the water source, but you can get all the details at Housing a Forest.


Christmas Light Lantern

OhOh Deco

Plastic bottle recycling ideas don’t necessarily have to feature the plastic front and center. It’s hard to even spot the plastic in these Christmas light lanterns from OhOh Deco! They're chic enough that Christmas isn’t the only time that they could grace your living room. Get extra creative with the cutout shapes, heights, and wrap color. You’d never know that on the inside, it’s a plain old plastic bottle. 


“Dew” It Yourself Jewelry Stand


Everyone can use extra storage space, and vertical storage space gets extra bonus points because it doesn’t eat up square footage. So a plastic bottle craft idea that gives you vertical storage deserves an A++. Use up several plastic bottles to create a jewelry stand that’s truly unique.