How to Re-Use Your 2-Liter Bottles

July 22, 2010 18 comments View all articles in Re-Use-It

It is estimated that 30 percent of the world's polyethylene terephtalate (PET) goes into plastic bottles. The manufacturing of this type of plastic involves a series of complicated chemical interactions that begin with the withdrawal of hydrocarbons from crude oil. Crude oil is a non-renewable resource that's extracted from various locations all over the world with innumerable environmental impacts.

If you've read our article on the basics of recycling, you already know that PET is the most widely accepted type of plastic at recycling centers. But did you know you can use your plastic bottles to conserve resources and reduce consumption even before you recycle them? Here are some useful ways to REUSE your 2-liter plastic bottles.


Sandbag Replacement.

2-liter bottles filled with organic cat litter

To eliminate the use of pesky sandbags in winter, fill up your empty, 2-liter plastic bottles with dry sand or kitty litter and keep them in the trunk of your car. They're much easier to use than messy bags that easily break or spill while pouring. They're great for sprinkling sand or kitty litter around your tires when you're stuck in a slick spot.


Foot Warmer. You don't have to buy a heating pad or a hot-water bottle to ease your cold, aching feet at the end of the day. Just fill a 2-liter plastic bottle with hot water and roll it back and forth under your feet as you sit and unwind. 

Frozen 2-liter bottlesIce Pack. Instead of buying new ice packs from the store, just freeze tap water in 2-liter plastic bottles. Use them in your cooler when you need to transport food, then once they melt you'll have ice-cold water to drink! Keeping your freezer full actually uses less energy and saves money on your electric bill, so fill up any extra space with these homemade ice packs. Just remember to leave a little room at the top of the bottle so the water can expand as it freezes.

Yarn Holder. Tangled yarn is a huge bother when knitting or crocheting. But you can make a yarn holder for yourself by simply cutting the bottom off a 2-liter plastic bottle, inserting your yarn, pulling a strand through the top opening, and then taping the bottom back on. Your yarn will be kept from rolling all over the place and getting tangled.


Backyard Sprayer. Every child loves to run through a sprinkler during the summer. So keep your kids cool and happy by making one at home with a clean, 2-liter plastic bottle. Simply cut three 1-inch slits in one side, and then use duct tape to tightly fasten the nozzle of the hose to the top of the bottle. All that's left is to turn on the water and the fun!

Bank. There's no need to buy a piggy bank for your kids when you have empty, 2-liter plastic bottles lying around your house. All you have to do is cut a small slit somewhere on the bottle, paint it or cover it with some fabric, and fill it up with coins. And to get the coins out, you can either cut a three-sided opening in the bottom of the bottle before you fill it up, or you can just cut the bottle open once it's full.

Kid Terrarium.Alternate look for the 2-Liter Bottle  Kids will be able to witness how new plants grow while they receive firsthand knowledge about reusing everyday household items. All you need is a 2-liter plastic bottle, a pair of scissors or a knife, some indoor potting soil, some sand, several small plants, a small makeup sponge, and some tape.

  1. Place the bottle on its side and carve an egg-shaped flap large enough to put your hand through.
  2. With the bottle still on its side, add a quarter inch of sand and potting soil.
  3. Secure the small plants into the soil and add the moistened makeup sponge.
  4. Fasten the egg-shaped flap closed with tape that can be easily removed. Make sure the bottle cap is screwed on tightly so the plants will have an ideal, moist environment to grow in.
  5. Place the terrarium in a well-lit area and watch your plants grow!


 Bird Feeder. Making a bird feeder from a used plastic bottle is an activity you can either enjoy with your kids or by yourself. It's a resourceful, eco-friendly activity the neighborhood birds will really thank you for. All you need is a 2-liter plastic bottle without the seal, a pair of scissors, a nail, a 12-inch wooden dowel, some strong cord, some birdseed, and a little parental supervision.

  1. With the nail, carefully poke a hole on each side of the bottle, near the bottom.
  2. Insert the dowel through these holes to make perches.
  3. On each side of the bottle, make U-shaped cuts about 2 inches above the holes you just made with the nail, then bend each cut outward to make flaps.
  4. Poke two holes just under the top rim of the bottle for the hanger.
  5. Thread some strong cord through these top holes to hang the feeder.
  6. Fill the feeder with birdseed and put the cap back on the bottle.
  7. Hang the bird feeder outside and watch the birds enjoy your creation!

Bug Trap. If your patio has become the local hangout for yellow jackets, wasps, moths, and other flying insects, try making an environment-friendly trap. Inside a 2-liter plastic bottle, dissolve a half-cup of sugar in a half-cup of water. Next, add a cup of apple cider vinegar and a banana peel. Make sure the cap is on tightly, shake the mixture up, and then fill the bottle halfway with cold water. Use a drill or a knife to cut a three-quarter-inch hole near the top of the bottle. And finally, hang the trap from a tree branch where the bugs are especially active.

Drip Irrigation System. In hot summer months when you especially need to deep water new plants, try making your own irrigation system. All you need is a 2-liter plastic bottle, scissors or a sharp knife, and an irrigation spike (purchase online for less than $1 each).

  1. Make sure the bottle is clean and dry before you start, then with your knife or scissors cut about three inches above the base of the bottle. This is so you'll be able to refill the bottle with a garden hose after it's in place.
  2. Fit the irrigation spike onto the neck of the bottle, put it in the ground beside your plants, fill the bottle with water, and let gravity take over.


Vivek on Jan. 10, 2012 at 3:47 a.m.

Can some one please help me find out pictures of walls constructed using bottles instead of bricks?

Chasing Green on Jan. 10, 2012 at 7:38 a.m.

Ty going to Google and typing in "bottle walls" or "plastic bottle walls". When the results come up look for the "Images" link on the left side of the search results. Click that and you should see a wide variety of pictures.

pam on Feb. 29, 2012 at 3:34 p.m.

Some good ideas but dont think its very environmental to use a garden hose full stop, let alone waste precious drinking water by having kids use a sprinkler for fun, which can go on for hours, meaning gallons of water is wasted. That water has had to be treated to be up to drinking standards, so using lots of energy too, so please rethink that suggestion.

pam on Feb. 29, 2012 at 3:44 p.m.

Forgot to say, but Ive seen some wonderful flowers made from parts of various sized bottles (see You.Tube), which you then cut and paint/decorate. Looks fantastic and very creative, definitely not a kids-looking project!

Sheila on July 23, 2012 at 10:16 p.m.

Pam if the lawn needs watering and the kids need cooling why not combine the 2 as long as there are no water restrictions and the area is shaded thus preventing lawn burning reducing evaporation, and reducing child friction? Can't see that as a problem only a solution.

Renee K on Aug. 24, 2012 at 7:02 p.m.

I never thought about using 2 liter bottles as yarn holders! What a great idea! As a HUGE pop drinking family (at least it's diet, lol), we have a LOT of 2 liter bottles. We recycle, but I always thought there was more I could do with them. This is just one more idea for me! Thank you!

meeko on Nov. 11, 2012 at 8:26 a.m.

I use 2 litre bottle to store flour, rice, bean, etc. You can place two end parts, one inside each other to create a container for bits and bobs.

GreenGreek on Nov. 12, 2012 at 3:39 a.m.

Some good suggestions, some not so practical, more like some time killing projects for when your really bored and have 2L bottles laying around. I also have to agree that allowing kids to run around with a mostly unregulated water flow is more likely to run off as waste than to water the lawn. At least California's water conditions are not improving and is not easily recycled.

Dogmudgeon on Nov. 12, 2012 at 8:20 a.m.

Fill empty bottles with water or sand to make weights.

Put one to four in a couple of nested plastic grocery bags to make weights with a handle. For light duty, use the number of bottles plus one bag. For heavy-duty use, like faux kettlebell swings, double that number.

One 2-l bottle full of water should be about 4.4 pounds. A bottle of sand is usually around 6.5 pounds, but that varies by its grade. Four containers of water quadruple-bagged would give you a 17.6 pound weight with a handle suitable for most dumbbell exercises, weighted calisthenics, or beginners' kettlebell swings.

Smaller AND larger bottles will also work.

Donneperth on Jan. 16, 2013 at 6:43 a.m.

For wallls made from bottles: Google 'Mike Reynolds Earth Ships' and check the movie 'Garbage Warrior'.

Heavy use pop drinkers; Diet is just as bad as non diet pop. Do some research on effects of pop drink and the chemicals they contain.

kaysue4 on Nov. 22, 2013 at 1:28 a.m.

I store rain water for soap making in my green 3 liter bottles. Also, you can cut the top part upside down and use it way for yarn also.
I also cut the tops and use for funnels for any use or in the sandbox fir the grandchildren.
I have seen someone take and cut the bottom part off, poke holes and place in planters with the dirt and plants around it and then you just fill up the bottle to water your plants. I think with the lids on them so the water goes out slowly.

sue on April 8, 2015 at 10:52 a.m.

Pam and Green Geek could use a day playing in a sprinkler and lessen the amount of doaled out guilt. Take a moment and a deep breath and remember kids AND adults need water to grow both physically and mentally.

Felicia on July 11, 2015 at 9:56 a.m.

First, Thanks Sue, I was biting my tongue. I just learned a great storage trick with dried food like rice, lentil or beans. If you have them in those thin produce bags just cut the top 2" w/ cap from any plastic drinking bottle. Pull the open end of the bag thru the cap opening until food is packed. trim bag leaving an inch and screw the cap back on! Saves ton's of space and you can use your recycled glass for more fragile foods.

Jerry on Oct. 21, 2015 at 9:31 p.m.

Make a greenhouse plant starter. I use coke 2ltr bottles. I use a box knife and cut at the narrow part about 2.5 inches from the bottom. Next I cut around just under the label. punch a few small holes in the bottom, put some potting soil in the base, add some seeds, some water and place the top part back on. Remove the cap and if you have a plastic crate you are all set. Seeds start much quicker than by just planting in the garden.

Trey on Jan. 21, 2016 at 8:59 a.m.

Pam needs to chill

ayla on May 29, 2016 at 8:02 a.m.

I love the yarn holder idea.

Mary on July 27, 2016 at 2:36 p.m.

I store rice and beans in 2lt bottles for emergencies.

Sally Adams on Dec. 6, 2016 at 5:27 p.m.

How do you put a one inch hole in the bottom of a 2 liter bottle?

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