Spring onion grow in used water bottle, vegetables plant for urb

Plastic Bottles: Recycle or Repurpose?

Repurposing old and used objects is a great way to help clean up the environment. Repurposing adds creative flair to a garden and offers the satisfaction of doing your part for the environment.

Plastic bottles can be a nuisance. Piled in landfills, filling up garbage dumps, and littering the roads, these items like many other garbage items are tossed aside and allowed to pollute our environment.

Recycling is the process of converting disposed paper, plastic, and glass into reusable items to prevent waste, landfill buildup, and pollution. This process helps to cut down on the surplus production of new disposable items that often end up scattered about roadways and bodies of water, causing harmful impacts to wildlife and to the environment.

While recycling plays a huge role in the green movement, there are other ways to reduce pollution and garbage buildup. Here we will focus primarily on plastic bottles such as water bottles, soda bottles, and so on.

The first and most obvious option is to drastically reduce or eliminate the use of plastic bottles at all. Water filters that fit the faucet of kitchen sinks are becoming increasingly popular. These provide great tasting water without chemicals and small mineral particles. The use of water bottles can be eliminated by installing these and refilling a travel thermos to take on the go. If this isn’t an option, simply refilling a used water bottle a few times rather than throwing them away can reduce plastic litter.

While these are all considerable options, plastic bottles are a fantastic resource as planters in your garden. Plastic bottles can be used to plant individual herbs. Place your seedlings in one of these bottles and allow a few to line your window sill in the kitchen. Make sure they get plenty of sunlight, and in time you will have a fresh store of herbs to use while cooking right in your own kitchen.

Plastic bottles can also be used for vertical gardens along a stone wall or fence. Here are a few links to creative ideas for vertical gardens using plastic bottles:

http://balconygardenweb.com/plastic-bottle-vertical-garden-soda-bottle-garden/

http://m.wikihow.com/Build-a-Vertical-Garden-from-Soda-Bottles

As an example, I have used a plastic 2-litre bottle to plant Cilantro for use in my kitchen. All I needed was the bottle, some potting soil, the seedling, and a knife to cut the bottle with. I used a kitchen knife, but I definitely recommend using a boxcutter.

water bottle reuse 01

First, I cut the plastic bottle in half.
First, I cut the plastic bottle in half.
Then I filled the top portion of the bottle with potting soil and planted my seedling. I left the cap in place for this step to prevent the soil from pouring back out.  I also filled the bottom half of the bottle ¼ of the way with water.
Then I filled the top portion of the bottle with potting soil and planted my seedling. I left the cap in place for this step to prevent the soil from pouring back out. I also filled the bottom half of the bottle ¼ of the way with water.
Finally, I gently removed the cap and replaced the inverted top half into the bottom of the bottle and watered my seedling.
Finally, I gently removed the cap and replaced the inverted top half into the bottom of the bottle and watered my seedling.
This little project now sits comfortably in a windowsill that offers much sunlight; safe from my little one’s curious fingers and my house cat’s curious paws.
This little project now sits comfortably in a windowsill that offers much sunlight; safe from my little one’s curious fingers and my house cat’s curious paws.

The idea of this project is to have a constant water supply for your seedling. This, however, does not mean it won’t need watering. I have seen many other similar projects done different ways, including filling the water level even higher and poking holes into the sides of the inverted top half and even poking a hole in the cap and using a knotted line of yarn to supply the water to the soil.

Whether recycling or repurposing, there are many ways to rid the environment of polluted garbage and use this waste in a productive manner.

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