We all know the three “R”s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Reducing can be accomplished by purchasing an eco-friendly bottle, and keeping it with you to refill from the tap or water cooler. As for recycling, almost every municipality has some type of either curbside recycling, or a local place you can take your used plastics. The fun comes when we come to the third “R,” reuse. Statistics say that only about 20 percent of plastic water bottles are actually recycled, which leaves 80 percent to end up in landfills, or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Learning how to reuse water bottles can help consumers save money, provide fun projects for families and kids and protect the environment from over-burdened landfills.

 

Ideas for reuse range from décor to function to gardening. Some projects use just a few bottles, while others require some time to amass a great number of bottles to finish the project. Regardless of how many bottles you use, each bottle reused is one less for the landfill. Some projects even incorporate other recycled items like old ballpoint pens. Here are a few crafty ideas for reducing your environmental impact by reusing water bottles.

 

 

If you aren’t feeling crafty, simply filling the bottles with water and freezing them comes in handy for first aid, or keeping people and pets cool. Fill your used water bottle about three quarters of the way full of tap water (to allow for expansion). Replace the lid and twist tightly to avoid leakage. Place a few of these bottles in the freezer to use on a bump or bruise or as a cold pack in a cooler. During the hot summer months, these frozen bottles can keep pets like rabbits or chickens cool in their outdoor habitats.

 

Whatever the project, water or plastic bottles can be configured to meet your needs. So next time you're about to pitch a water bottle in the trash, consider what it could be in its next life!

 

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