Uses for plastic containers

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

New uses for plastic containersPlastic packaging and plastic containers are everywhere, they are ubiquitous, and most end up in the landfill for recycling does not always happen in the way that we are being told. In fact, quite often it does not happen. Now that China has closed its doors to plastic (and other) recyclables from the Europe and America the problem is going to get bigger still.

We can also not expect that the uses of plastics, for packaging especially, is going to go away soon and even so-called bio-plastics, biodegradable and even – supposedly – compostable plastics are still plastics and most will only compost, when it comes to the latter, in commercial hot composting facilities and not in Nature per se, and not even on your domestic compost heap or in a composter in your garden.

So, what do we do? Aside from reducing where we can we must look at reusing and upcycling wherever possible. As far as plastic containers are concerned they come in many shapes and sizes and thus to many reuse and upcycling possibilities.

There are the humble milk jugs in a variety of sizes. In the UK they are pint, two pint, four pint and six pint sizes while in the US they happen do be different and also come in gallon size. They all, as far as I am concerned, have reuse potential and I have made a variety of things from them, including a belt-wearable berry picking/dead heading container for gardening (see photo).

Milk jugs, of all sizes, can also be used as planters, for seed starting as well as for growing plants. Larger plastic jugs, like those used in commercial catering and also for other purposes, often small to large jerrycan size and style, can be reused, repurposed and upcycled also into planters.

The same goes for plastic buckets in which many products come when purchased in bulk, or for commercial catering, for instance, such as mayonnaise, oil, etc. Those buckets, often gallon and greater in size, make great planters in the garden. Drill holes into the bottoms, and, maybe the sides, of the emptied and cleaned containers, and then use them for growing vegetables or invasive plants, such as mint. You can also use the plastic buckets to organize and haul garden materials and compost, sort laundry, or store household items.

But they can also be made into other useful items, such as storage drawers, and smaller ones can be used for dividers in desk drawers and such. The only limitation, probably, is set by your imagination or lack thereof.

From plastic lotion containers (bottles) holsters and pocket protectors can easily be made for safely carrying tools, such as, say secateurs. They can either be fitted with “straps” so they can be worn on the belt, or shoulder straps, or they can just simply be put into the pocket. The tool is safely encased in the holster and thus will not damage the clothes or the wearer.

Other bottles from strong plastic, such as those from cleaning fluids, for instance, can become holsters for scythe sharpening stones, the name for which I rather not mention here as nowadays it is considered a cuss word, as it has four letters, begins with a “c” and ends in a “t”. But, honestly, that is the real word for such a holster.

Many other items of plastic packaging also, no doubt, have reuse, repurposing and upcyling potential and I am sure we can all create a whole list of ideas in this department. Often all that is required is the correct mindset, imagination and inspiration.

I strongly believe that there is even potential, as far as plastic containers (and such) are concerned, for upcyling business ventures if people can be brought to understand to buy into the concept – literally as well.

© 2018