8 Ways & Whys to Reuse Plastic

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.

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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  1. Thanks to Raquel for a great article highlighting the benefits and opportunities for reuse & repurposing around your home.

    Here at Reuse Alliance it’s no secret we love reuse. If you do too, become a member of the nation’s reuse sector support network!

  2. I used to turn 2-liter bottles into plant containers. But who buys 2 liter bottles of soda anymore?

  3. Hi,

    Always fun ideas when you run these pieces.

    Now, just for fun, how about cutting plastic bags in half, drawing lobsters on them and using them for lobster bibs at your next seafood party……

  4. Is there an International program to develop recycling plants? I semi retired in Mexico and I have observed a large amount of soda bottles ending up in landfills or the side of the road. I am interested in ways to develop industry that can benefit from recycling these large numbers of throw away plastic bottles.

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  6. Great blog post Raquel! You’v got some very creative ideas! Recycled plastic is being reused for so many wonderful things as people become more aware of the harmful effects of dumping plastic on our landfills. Even the military has started experimenting with using recycled plastic to even build bridges and structures.

    My company, ZippGo.com, uses 100% recycled plastic to create a reusable moving box used in residential and office moves. The amount of cardboard used during moves across the US is staggering and most of these boxes end up in our local landfills. Each of our boxes can be used 500 times each and is made from plastic that was headed to the landfill.

    We help clients simplify their move and do it with zero waste.


    Ash Sud
    Founder | ZippGo
    The Green Moving Box
    (800) 723-7017

  7. Pingback: How to Reuse Styrofoam « How2Reuse

  8. Raquel,
    Thanks for writing this post. This is the type of information that needs to reach the masses. Keep up the good work!

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