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Recycling and Reusing Plastic

Updated on September 14, 2014

Fun Ways to Recycle or Reuse Plastic

Recycling your plastic is great for the environment, but before you transport them to the recycling center, think of what you can DO with them. Plastic has some wonderful reuses around the home and garden. Below is a collection of quick and easy ideas to reuse plastic.

Recycling Plastic

If you don't REUSE your plastic, this handy recycle center locator will help you find the closest recycle center simply by typing in your zip code. Plastic is not biodegradable and if it ends up in the landfill, it will stay there virtually forever without decomposing.

Photo by HSSchulte

The Play House blog features 10 Ways to Reuse Plastic Easter Eggs. After the holiday has passed, don't throw those plastic eggs out! You can use them to make learning games. These 10 ideas focus primarily on preschool age children, but you can use them to inspire more ideas. I'm particularly fond of the alphabet upper and lowercase match game. A perfect way to teach young children and reuse plastic at the same time.

10 Fun Learning Games to Reuse Plastic Easter Eggs

Reuse Plastic Yogurt Containers
Reuse Plastic Yogurt Containers

Reuse Plastic Yogurt Containers to Start Seeds

# 1 Way to Reuse Plastic

Plastic yogurt containers are the perfect size for starting seeds. Poke a hole in the bottom of the container and fill each little seed pot with dirt. It works best if you nestle them closely together in a large flat container to make it easy to transport them when moving them to the garden.

How to Reuse Yogurt Containers to Start Seeds

Organizing Household Items
Organizing Household Items

Reusing Plastic for Organization

#2 Way to Reuse Plastic

There was a time that I saw my overflowing plastic recycle bin as a nuisance. Now, I see it as an opportunity to get organized. By decorating plastic containers, you can organize almost anything. I used these large gallon size vinegar bottles to store my kids bubbles (a summertime favorite).

Reorganizing Household Items
Reorganizing Household Items

Bottles to Store Pencils, Pens and Markers

#3 Way to Reuse Plastic

Reusing smaller plastic bottles, such as water or soda bottles, works perfectly for pencils, pens or markers. You can decorate the outside of the container, or leave it plain to better see the contents. Organization magic!

Reuse Plastic Berry Containers to Organize School Supplies
Reuse Plastic Berry Containers to Organize School Supplies

Berry Containers to Store Supplies

#4 Way to Reuse Plastic

These plastic berry containers worked perfectly for grouping flashcards, small books and cards. They are just the right size to group and stack educational supplies. My once cluttered mess is now organized, making it easy to find just the thing you are looking for. The berry containers are clear, but you can also add a label to aid in identifying the contents.

Reuse Plastic to Organize Household Items
Reuse Plastic to Organize Household Items

Plastic Boxes for Storage

#5 Way to Reuse Plastic

This plastic container once held potato salad. After a warm bath, and a little contact paper decorating, it was the perfect place to store CDs running loose around my home.

Reuse plastic bottles as flowers
Reuse plastic bottles as flowers

Reuse Plastic Bottles in Crafts

#7 Way to Reuse Plastic

These gorgeous flowers are indeed made from plastic bottles. It's hard to believe isn't it? Grace Violet features these soda or water bottle flowers on her blog with more photos of the finished flowers and a step by step tutorial for turning trash into something this amazing.

Plastic Bottle Flowers

Recycled crafts are a great way to repurpose old plastic into something new. Recycled crafts provide children with something to do on a rainy day. There are also a variety of adult crafts to put those old plastic bottles to amazing uses. This sample of flowers is only the beginning. For more ideas on using plastic bottles in crafts visit "How to Reuse Plastic Bottles in Crafts."

plastic bag yarn for crochet and recycled crafts
plastic bag yarn for crochet and recycled crafts

Plastic Bags

#8 - Ways to Reuse Plastic

If you do not recycle, one of the kindest things you can do for the environment is ask for paper bags when you shop. Paper is biodegradable and decomposes eventually in the landfill. Plastic bags do not and they stick around filling up dumps far too long. In some countries they have actually been outlawed.

If you have plastic bags you want to reuse, here are a few cool craft ideas to do that:

Make Granny Squares from Plastic Bags

Use Plastic Bags as Plastic Yarn

Also, after the craft has outworn it's welcome, please go ahead and recycle those plastic bags.

Granny Square Purse
Granny Square Purse

Purse

Made from recycling plastic grocery bags

On a smaller scale, try this grocery bag purse made by crocheting plastic yarn. It's finished dimensions are 8 X 9 inches. The instructions indicate that it takes 30 minutes to and hour to finish. If you are new to using plarn, it will take you at least that long to cut the grocery bags into strips. I anticipate 4 hours to be a much more accurate time estimate from start to finish and if you are experienced in crochet. You will need lots of plastic grocery bags and a large crochet hook (size N).

Granny Square Purse

What do YOU do with Your Plastic?

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Reuses for Plastic Water Bottles

Reusing Plastic Bottles

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