Recycle plastic bottles

7 Ways to Recycle your Plastic Bottles & more

I can proudly admit I rarely buy a drink in a plastic bottle. Soft drinks and I don’t get along well. But when you run a small hotel like I do, I’ll always find at least one empty bottle per room after guests check out.

Here in Buenos Aires there aren’t that many ways to recycle. Green containers on the streets in some neighborhoods collect paper, carton, glass and plastic bottles. For lack of education and discipline people throw in whatever they find convenient. It’s discouraging.

In the hotel Marcel we collect the plastic caps of the bottles for the Children’s Hospital Foundation Garrahan. The bottles end up in the green container. Frustrated with the uncertain destination of these plastic bottles, we decided to study ways to recycle our plastic bottles and to put them to good use.

Plant Tomatoes in Hanging plastic bottles

Both I and my daughter we love tomatoes and we kind of eat them every day. Here is how you can grow your own. It’s super easy and some hanging space will suffice.

Tomatoes in Hanging plastic Bottles

All you need is :

  • a 2 liter PET bottle
  • a pair of scissers
  • a coffee filter
  • rope
  • tomato plants
  • a cuter
  • a stick

Before you start, try to make an estimation of the number of bottles you can hang. Best is to grow cherry tomatoes. Those are my favorites anyhow.

Then follow these simple steps:

  1. Wash the bottle and remoce the label
  2. Remove the bottom of the bottle with the cuter
  3. Place the bottom part in the main part upside down
  4. Make a hole on each side of the bottle ( to place the stick afterwards )
  5. Make 10 to 15 holes in the bottom part of the bottle
  6. Choose a small tomato plant
  7. Squeeze the plant through a small hole you make in the bottom part of the coffee filter and wrap the earth in the filter
  8. Carefully squeeze the plant through the bottleneck
  9. Turn the bottle upside down and fill with earth leaving some space for the water dispenser ( = the bottom part of the bottle in which you made holes )
  10. Push the stick through the 2 side holes you made earlier
  11. Then fix the rope to hang the bottle
  12. Fill the water dispenser with water and hang the bottle where you can easily reach it to harvest your tomatoes

Ready !

We’re not done harvesting, here’s how to grow your own onion tree.

Your Own Onion Tree

You need:

  • A plastic bottle, can be any size
  • Earth
  • Water
  • A Knife
  • Onion Sprouts

The Instructions:

  1. Prepare the tower : remove the top part of the bottle & make holes of about 4 cm diameter divided over 3 layers in the bottle ( makes 12 holes in total )
  2. Make a few small holes in the bottom for drainage
  3. Fill the bottle with the earth, placing an onion sprout where you made the holes; the leaves should point to the outside and the roots to the inside
  4. Repeat this till you have filled the bottle

Check on a regular basis; when the top layer is dry you should add some water. And then just wait till you can harvest your first homegrown onions.

A Vertical Garden of plastic bottles

Estudio Rosenbaum, Brazil came up with this wonderful idea to build vertical gardens from PET bottles for poor families. You don’t need to be poor or live in Brazil to construct your own. You can grow your own salad, flowers… your inspiration is your limit.

Vertical Garden

What do you need?

Drawing to prepare the bottles
  • 2- liter plastic bottles
  • a cuter
  • rope
  • 2 washers per bottle

Here we go !

  1. Make 4 small openings in the bottle as shown in the picture. Pass the cord through the bottle as shown placing the washers on the outside bottom part.
  2. Then cut a large rectangular part and remove the plastic.
  3. Fill the bottle with the earth and a plant of your choice.
  4. Line up as many as you can or like and fix on the top of the wall.

A colored net

A bit more time consuming but worth the effort is turning 3 plastic bottles into a net. This might be a good idea if you want to keep your cats on the premises.

What you need

  • 3 plastic bottles, preferably in 3 different colors
  • 5 washers
  • a cutter blade without the handle
  • 2 screws
  • a ruler
  • a squared wooden table or board

The Process is simple but I needed a visual aid to figure it out.

So here’s the video for making your own tricolor net of plastic bottles.

Home air conditioning – Eco-Cooler

The most rudimentary systems are sometimes the most surprising (remember air conditioning vs. fan). This example is the perfect illustration:

In Bangladesh, engineers have developed a 100% eco-friendly home air conditioner, an air conditioner that does not need electricity to function! An exemplary invention and full of ingenuity.

How does it work? Scheme Eco-Cooler

The idea is very simple. In order to understand, do this simple test: blow into your hand with your mouth wide open and feel the hot air. Then repeat the same gesture but this time with your mouth nearly closed. Now you will feel cold air.

This is exactly what the eco-cooler thus: lower the air temperature by using this pressure difference.

Ensure to choose the window with the best wind flow for installing your home made eco-cooler. Cause wind is all you’ll need.

Suggestion: try to use a transparent board not to give in on light.



Juice Squeezer

This is an easy one. When you’re out there camping, or renting an airbnb with a kitchen that’s missing out on an electrical juicer, and you’re like I – you can’t do without your daily freshly squeezed juice, – here comes the solution!

Juice squeezer

All you need is two plastic bottles in two different sizes. Remove the bottom from the biggest one with a knife or a cutter. Place the small one into the big one till they fit. Make sure to remove the caps.

Squeeze a wooden stick through both bottles over two levels to stabilize the small one.

Grab your fruit and squeeze !

Another easy one, a filter for your tea

Save a small coca-cola bottle, pinch several holes in the cap. Remove the bottom and keep 5 cm of the top. Place the top with the pinched cap in your tea cup. Now you’re safe to poor and drink tea from fresh leaves.

Tea filter

The World will never fall out of ideas

Again I am not in favor of buying drinks in plastic bottles. To be honest, I am totally against. But the world is not ready to ban them. But we humans are creative and will never be short of ideas to recycle plastic bottles.

Here’s a bonus link for 30 smart more ways to recycle.

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