DIY Plastic Waste Crafts That Will Make Your Life Green

Lindsey - November 25, 2023

In a world grappling with the environmental repercussions of plastic waste, the concept of upcycling emerges as a beacon of at-home sustainability. Shifting the narrative from disposable to purposeful, the idea of transforming everyday plastic home waste into clever do-it-yourself (DIY) projects represents a conscious effort to minimize our ecological footprint. From discarded bottles and containers to plastic lids and utensils, these overlooked items become the canvas for ingenious creations that transcend their initial single-use purposes. Remember to use appropriate safety measures, like cutting plastic carefully, and ensure that the materials you’re using are clean and safe for the intended purpose. Enjoy your creative recycling projects!

Photo: PBS Utah

Bottles into a Bird Feeder

Transforming discarded plastic bottles into functional and eco-friendly bird feeders is a great way to give back to the environment directly through upcycling! The process involves carefully cutting an opening in the bottle, filling it with birdseed, and suspending it in outdoor spaces – from a tree or your porch for easy bird watching. Get to know your fine feathered friends and give your plastic bottles a second chance at something new.

Photo: Gardening Know How

Bottles into Garden Pest Traps

In the pursuit of sustainable gardening practices, consider repurposing plastic bottles into DIY pest traps. You can go simple – cutting and filling with solution, or you can create a slightly more elaborate bottle funnel trap. Whichever you choose, once modified, these bottles become effective traps when filled with a mixture of water and a mild detergent. Strategically placing these traps around the garden – with the correct bait for the pests you’d like to attract – proves to be an environmentally conscious means of pest control. It curtails the need for chemical interventions and underscores the possibilities for everyday items, like plastic bottles, to serve as practical tools in fostering a balanced and pesticide-free garden ecosystem.

Photo: Instructables

Plastic Cups into String Lights

Did your celebration waste a few too many party cups? Save them during your clean-up and breathe new life into them with an innovative DIY project that makes them a bit more enchanting than they were the night before! The process involves carefully cutting the bottoms of the cups to create flower-like shapes. Once prepared, these cups are strung onto fairy lights, creating a bright garland. If you want to further customize your new decorative lighting, consider collage on the cups, add stickers, ribbon, or other bits to make them better match your space (or next party!). Through this creative recycling, the plastic cups find a second life as part of an illuminating, eco-friendly celebration.

Photo: Sarah Titus Ministries

Keurig Cups into Card Holders

If you love your Keurig but hate the waste of all the tiny plastic cups, consider turning a few into playing card holders for card games! By carefully cleaning and removing the coffee residue, these discarded pods become the foundation for a functional and visually appealing addition to game nights. Cutting an opening in the top of each K-cup allows for easy insertion and retrieval of playing cards. A coat of vibrant paint or decorative paper transforms these once-utilitarian objects into personalized card holders, adding a touch of uniqueness to the gaming experience. This eco-friendly DIY project not only diverts K-cups from landfills but also imbues them with newfound purpose, enhancing the joy of game nights with a sustainable twist.

Photo: Sustain Blog

Bread Clips into Cord Labels

Ah, the humble bread clip – used to seal in freshness but often discarded when the bag is empty. Even these tiniest of plastic items can be reused at home, however: consider using your bread clips as a labeling solution for cords! Their small size and secure grip make them perfect for affixing to various cables, allowing for quick and hassle-free identification in the midst of a tangled web of electronics. By utilizing different-colored clips or adding labels, each cord becomes distinguishable, alleviating the frustration of hunting for the right one. This not only bestows new purpose upon these minuscule plastic pieces but also promotes an eco-conscious approach to organization, reducing the need for single-use alternatives and expensive label makers. In the realm of cord management, the unassuming bread clip emerges triumphant, offering a clever and sustainable solution to the perennial challenge of cable chaos.


Bottles into Self Watering Planters

If you’re someone who often forgets to water their plants AND accumulates plastic bottles, this could be the craft for you! Repurposing plastic bottles into self-watering planters involves cutting plastic bottles in a strategic manner, creating a reservoir at the bottom and a planting area above. By inverting the top portion and inserting it into the base, a self-watering system is ingeniously established, allowing plants to draw water as needed, minimizing both waste and water consumption. The transparency of the plastic provides a visual cue for water levels, ensuring optimal hydration for the plants. This upcycled solution not only breathes new life into discarded bottles but also addresses the dual challenges of efficient water management and plant care.

Photo: Real Joy

Bottles into Earrings

You might think turning plastic bottles into jewelry might not fit your style – maybe even be unattractive or uncomfortable. This craft of turning plastic bottles into stylish earrings from Happy Family Art might change your mind! The process involves carefully cutting and shaping plastic bottles into intricate designs suitable for earrings. By following the step-by-step guide, crafters can transform discarded plastic into lightweight, eye-catching accessories. The tutorial highlights the versatility of plastic as a medium, showcasing how it can be adorned with paint, beads, and various embellishments to enhance its aesthetic appeal. This innovative approach not only breathes new life into discarded materials but also invites individuals to explore their creativity while contributing to sustainable practices.

Photo: Keya’s Crafts

Bottles into Faux Flower Decor

If you’re looking for a fun craft activity with kids, repurposing plastic bottles into vibrant flowers may be just the ticket to a creative afternoon! The step-by-step instructions involve cutting the plastic bottles into petal shapes, creating layers that mimic the delicate structure of flowers. The tutorial recommends using eight or nine petals for each flower, ensuring a realistic and visually appealing result. By heating the petal edges and gently curling them, the plastic takes on a lifelike, floral quality. The tutorial further underscores the transformative potential of ordinary plastic, demonstrating how a fresh approach can yield intricate and charming floral creations.

Photo: Motherhood on a Dime

Wipe Containers into Organizing Kits

Do you have baby wipe or sanitizing wipe containers you don’t know how to reuse? You can turn your wipe containers into organizational marvels! The process involves thoroughly cleaning the containers and removing any adhesive labels. These sleek and compact receptacles, once emptied, serve as ideal organizers for a myriad of items, from office supplies to craft materials or even a portable first aid kit. Their durable construction and hinged lids make them perfect for stashing away small essentials. This upcycling endeavor not only reduces environmental impact but also underscores the potential of everyday items to serve new and functional purposes in our quest for organization and sustainability.

Photo: The Spruce

Old Toothbrushes into Deep Cleaning Tools

The small yet sturdy bristled toothbrushes, no longer suitable for oral hygiene, find renewed purpose in tackling hard-to-reach areas and stubborn grime in your home. With their slender and nimble design, toothbrushes prove to be indispensable for scrubbing crevices, corners, and intricate surfaces that traditional cleaning tools may struggle to address. Whether employed in bathroom tiles, kitchen grout, or intricate household fixtures, the fine bristles effectively dislodge dirt and residue, offering a targeted and thorough cleaning experience. The recycling of toothbrushes as cleaning aids not only extends the lifespan of these everyday items but also minimizes waste, embodying a practical and eco-conscious approach to household maintenance. Just make sure no one mistakes the repurposed home cleaning brush for a usable toothbrush!

Photo: The Krazy Coupon Lady

Laundry Detergent Containers as DIY Magazine Holders

Repurposing laundry detergent containers into book or magazine organizers proves to be a practical and eco-friendly solution, as detailed in the insights from DIY & Crafts. Following their suggestions, the process begins by thoroughly cleaning and drying the containers before cutting them to the desired height. By adhering to a simple and effective design, the containers can be transformed into efficient vertical organizers that neatly hold books or magazines in an upright position. The handles of these containers, often overlooked, serve as built-in grips, making it easy to transport and rearrange the organizers as needed. The tutorial not only highlights the simplicity of the transformation but also emphasizes the versatility of repurposed plastic, offering a sustainable alternative to conventional storage solutions. By converting laundry detergent containers into stylish and functional organizers, individuals can contribute to minimizing waste while introducing an element of creativity and organization into their living spaces.

The Kitchn

Creamer Bottle Snack Dispenser

Sometimes keeping opened snacks fresh can be a challenge. There’s a DIY hack that may help: repurposing old creamer containers as snack containers. By cleaning and removing any lingering odors, these containers become ideal vessels for portable and portioned snacks. Their compact size, secure lids, and durable construction make them perfect for on-the-go munching, effortlessly fitting into lunchboxes, backpacks, or desk drawers. The resealable nature of the containers ensures snack freshness while preventing spills, providing a practical solution for those seeking sustainable alternatives to single-use packaging. This idea not only breathes new life into discarded creamer containers but also aligns with a broader commitment to reduce waste and embrace eco-conscious practices.

Photo: Bob Vila

Jumbo Gum Containers as Change Holders

Repurposing a large plastic gum container as a car change collector turns trash into a treasure box! After thoroughly cleaning and removing any residual gum, the container becomes an ideal receptacle for loose change in a vehicle. Its compact size allows it to conveniently fit into cup holders or glove compartments, providing a designated space for accumulating coins. The secure snap-on lid ensures that loose change remains contained, preventing clutter and enhancing tidiness within the car. This creative upcycling solution not only breathes new life into the plastic container but also offers a tangible way to manage loose change effectively while on the go. With this method, you’ll never be without quarters for parking, tolls, or the laundromat!

Photo: One Hundred Dollars a Month

Rotisserie Chicken Container into a Seed Starter

When you purchase a rotisserie chicken, you may be thinking about how to use the leftover bones and such for broth – making use of every part of your meal. But what if you could reuse the packaging as well? Consider turning the container into a seed starter, as detailed by The Homespun Hydrangea. The transparent and dome-shaped container creates an ideal microclimate for germinating seeds, simulating a mini-greenhouse effect. By making drainage holes and filling the bottom with soil, the container transforms into a nurturing environment for seedlings. The rotisserie container’s lid, acting as a protective cover, retains moisture, fostering optimal conditions for seed germination. This budget-friendly seed-starting solution not only repurposes plastic waste but also exemplifies an accessible and eco-conscious alternative to traditional seed-starting methods. Embracing this ingenious transformation allows gardening enthusiasts to harness the potential of everyday items for sustainable and successful seed propagation.

Photo: Raju’s DIY via YouTube

Plastic Bottle Caps into DIY Coasters

Transforming plastic bottle caps into practical coasters, as detailed in the tutorial on Instructables, offers a creative and eco-friendly solution to the problems of too many bottle caps and too many water rings on your tables. As for the process, plastic bottle caps are collected and thoroughly cleaned, ensuring a hygienic and visually appealing finished product. The tutorial demonstrates how to arrange the caps into desired patterns, secure them with adhesive, and encase them in resin to create durable and stylish coasters. The use of resin not only adds a protective layer but also gives the coasters a polished and professional finish. This upcycling project not only repurposes plastic waste but also showcases the adaptability of seemingly mundane materials. The resulting coasters not only serve a functional purpose but also become conversation pieces, embodying the principles of sustainability and creativity in everyday life. Through this tutorial, individuals can contribute to waste reduction while adding a touch of handmade charm to their living spaces.

Photo: Instructables

Plastic Bags into a DIY Jump Rope

Repurposing plastic bag yarn, commonly known as “plarn,” into a jump rope showcases a creative and sustainable approach to crafting and exercise. The process, as described by various DIY enthusiasts and upcycling advocates, involves cutting plastic bags into strips and then meticulously transforming them into a durable yarn substitute. By braiding or twisting the plarn strands together, a robust and eco-friendly jump rope takes shape. The inherent strength of plarn ensures that the jump rope withstands the rigors of use, while its lightweight nature adds an extra layer of convenience. This inventive transformation not only breathes new life into discarded plastic bags but also introduces an element of fitness into sustainable crafting. Through this repurposing endeavor, plarn evolves from a common household item into a functional and resilient tool..

Photo: Cassie Stephens

Straws into DIY Woven Crafts

Did you know that weaving with plastic drinking straws is possible? As inspired by the insightful tutorial on One Little Project, the tutorial guides enthusiasts through the process of cutting and preparing plastic straws for weaving, showcasing how simple materials can lead to intricate and visually appealing crafts. By following the step-by-step instructions, individuals can create colorful and flexible straw bracelets through a combination of weaving techniques. The inherent versatility of plastic straws allows for the exploration of various patterns and designs, transforming an everyday item into a medium for wearable art. This repurposing endeavor not only breathes new life into single-use straws but also encourages a mindful and sustainable approach to crafting. The resulting straw bracelets stand as a testament to the marriage of creativity and resourcefulness, offering a unique and eco-friendly twist to traditional weaving techniques. Pro tip: Once you’ve mastered bracelets, think about larger weaving projects like placemats!

Photo: Maple Hill 101

Utensil Garden Markers

If you have trouble remembering where you plant what in your windowsill herb garden, repurposing old plastic utensils as garden markers could help keep things straight. By cleaning and cutting discarded plastic utensils, these otherwise single-use items transform into durable and weather-resistant markers for identifying plants in the garden. The sturdy nature of plastic ensures that these markers endure various outdoor conditions, while the flat surfaces provide ample space for labeling. This straightforward upcycling solution not only reduces plastic waste but also offers an affordable and accessible alternative to traditional garden markers. The resulting garden markers serve as a visual reminder that everyday items can play a crucial role in fostering an environmentally responsible gardening experience.

Photo: wikiHow

Bottles into an Organizer

Transforming plastic bottles into a desk organizer for office supplies is a great way to create a sustainable, customizable caddy for your needs. The process involves cleaning and removing labels from the bottles before cutting them to desired heights. By arranging the cut bottles in a cohesive manner and securing them together, a multi-compartmentalized organizer takes shape. The cylindrical nature of the bottles offers convenient storage for pens, pencils, scissors, and various office essentials. This budget-friendly and environmentally conscious DIY project not only repurposes plastic waste but also introduces an aesthetically pleasing and functional element to the workspace. You can keep the bottles transparent to provide visibility or paint and decorate the bottles to make them your own!

Photo: Postcard Jar

Pill Bottles into Travel Storage Containers

It’s tough to get rid of old prescriptions, and the bottles can pose challenges, too. If you have old subscription bottles, consider repurposing them as efficient travel containers. Following thorough cleaning and label removal, these compact and durable containers become ideal vessels for carrying small quantities of personal care products, medications, jewelry, or other essentials during travel. The secure, airtight lids of pill bottles offer protection against spills, ensuring the contents remain intact and mess-free in transit. Their small size and lightweight nature make them convenient additions to travel bags or purses, allowing for efficient compartmentalization without taking up excessive space. This innovative upcycling endeavor not only reduces waste but also transforms overlooked items into versatile travel companions.

Photo: AllRecipes

Peanut Butter Jars into DIY Bulk Shopping Storage

Bulk shopping is a great way to save money, and package-free bulk stores are popping up around the country. If there’s one in your neighborhood but you don’t know how to keep things fresh after purchasing, you may want to consider reusing plastic peanut butter containers (or other similar items) as storage vessels for bulk dry goods. These containers prove to be durable and airtight, preserving the freshness of bulk dry goods such as rice, pasta, or grains. The wide mouths of these containers facilitate easy access, allowing for seamless scooping or pouring of ingredients during culinary endeavors. The transparency of the plastic further enhances visibility, enabling users to quickly identify and monitor the quantity of stored goods. This repurposing not only mitigates waste by giving a second life to plastic containers but also offers an affordable and efficient alternative to traditional storage solutions. Embracing this practice contributes to a more organized and sustainable kitchen environment.

Photo: Eighteen25

Milk Cartons into DIY Halloween Decor

Have you ever seen a spooky milk jug? well, if you utilize milk cartons as Halloween decor you just might meet one!. Once again, a thorough cleaning is necessary, but once done you can cut the cartons into desired shapes. They quickly become versatile canvases for crafting spooky lanterns or ghostly luminaries. The opaque nature of milk cartons allows for the play of ambient light, casting eerie shadows and adding an atmospheric touch to Halloween festivities. Decorating the cartons with whimsical or eerie facial expressions, and painting or embellishing them with other materials, transforms ordinary containers into unique and eye-catching decorations. Their lightweight structure facilitates easy hanging or placement around the home, while the durability of the cartons ensures they withstand outdoor conditions if used for yard decor. This imaginative repurposing not only reduces waste but also infuses a touch of DIY charm into Halloween preparations, demonstrating that everyday items can play a pivotal role in creating a spooktacular mood.

Photo: A Little Tipsy

DIY Plastic Bottle into a Piggy Bank

Transforming a plastic bottle into a piggy bank represents a creative and resourceful approach to both crafting and financial literacy for kids and adults alike. With a few simple steps, including cleaning and removing labels, a plastic bottle can be ingeniously repurposed into a receptacle for saving coins. By cutting a slot into the bottle’s surface and decorating it to resemble a piggy bank with paint, markers, paper, or felt, a playful and visually appealing DIY bank emerges. The transparency of the plastic allows individuals to witness the gradual accumulation of savings, offering a tangible and interactive lesson in money management. This project not only breathes new life into discarded plastic but also serves as a hands-on tool for instilling the value of saving money, turning a simple household item into a fun and educational experience.