8 Ways & Whys to Reuse Plastic

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As many people know, reuse is a step up from recycling. In fact, reuse is the middle-man between reduce and recycle, and some would be surprised at how many opportunities for reuse there really are – once you start looking for them.

We’re not talking about simply covering a bottle in magazine cut-outs, sticking some flowers inside and voilà
- a masterpiece vase is born. There’s more to it.

Though there is always room for easy and fun projects, the reuse that we find most interesting is the kind you can’t tell is reused. There are some quality results that can be achieved, and just like we learned with T-shirts, many products have a lot of reuse potential.

These are our eight creative ways (with a why and how mixed in) to reuse plastic, in all of its forms:

1. Getting Every Drop: Plastic Bottles

These little puppies are everywhere. In fact, they are a valuable part of most U.S. communities’ recycling stream since PET (#1) and HDPE (#2) make up 96 percent of all plastic bottles produced in the U.S. Since 1977, when the first PET bottle was recycled, plastic bottle recycling has increased to more than 2.3 billion pounds annually.

An entry in the design contest  Concept Product of 2009, Sarah Turner's lamp constructed  from used drink bottles is an inspirtation to say the least. Photo: 19bis.com/objectbis

An entry in the design contest Concept Product of 2009, Sarah Turner’s lamp constructed from used drink bottles is an inspiration to say the least. Photo: 19bis.com/objectbis

Today, more than 80 percent of communities collect plastic bottles. So, recycling this product is most likely a common practice for most. But if you shoot for more long-term reuse projects, it can definitely be worth it.

  • Lamp - Light up your home with some creative artistry. This example from designer Sarah Turner shows how much beauty and polish a reuse project can have.
  • Juicer - This simple reuse gadget is inventive, practical and just plain fun. Check out how Jeff Yeager did this one.
  • Purse - Still lugging around the cloth purses of yesteryear? Well, welcome to the 21st century with this fabulous reuse trick that is both impressive and practical.  Instructables.com has done it again with this funky piece of fashion.

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