Around 1500 plastic bottles end up in landfills or in the ocean every minute of every day. It takes approximately 700 years for a plastic bottle to decompose and may take up to 1000 years to decompose completely. Research suggests that the average family gets through 168 plastic bottles every year. It goes without saying that you should never throw your plastic bottles in the garbage along with your other household waste. You should always either recycle them or try and use them for another purpose.
If you have children you probably have a rainy day cupboard where you store egg cartons, cereal boxes etc so that you can surprise your kids with a craft day. From now on you should start storing some of the plastic bottles which you would normally have put to one side for recycling as there are a large number of fun things which you can do with plastic bottles.
By cutting the middle from a large plastic bottle and keeping the top and bottom you can make the perfect storage jar. By making it a lollypop or candy jar you can get the kids involved in creating it. Once you have cut the bottle, simply rejoin the two parts with glue and conceal it with ribbon or lace.
For toddlers and babies you could try reusing a small plastic bottle to create an aquarium. Simply add a quarter of the bottle with oil (cooking oil or baby oil), add food coloring, glitter and some plastic fish and then add some water before securing the cap with some tape. Children love to stare at these portable aquariums and give them a good shake.
Buy some vegetable seeds and get your children to plant them into compost which has been placed in small plastic bottles which you have cut in half. Cut some larger plastic bottles in half and explain to your kids that they are going to cover their newly planted seeds with these bottle tops to give the plants warmth and to protect them from inclement weather.
For school holidays, try reusing a large plastic bottle and fill it with either sand or small gravel. Place a broom handle inside the hole and secure with tape. This makes an inexpensive noisy musical instrument which kids will adore. If you have the time you could make quite a few so that the kids can pretend that they are in a marching band. Who knew recycling could be such fun!
Bird House Fun
A fun thing to do when you are repurposing and reusing your plastic bottles is to make a bird house. Simply turn the bottle on its side and cut out a couple of windows and a door. Cover with waterproof material and suspend from a branch. You can have your children place nuts and seeds inside the house and then watch from the window to see how many different varieties of birds come to visit. As well as making use of your bottles you are also encouraging your children to take an interest in nature.
Other things which you could make when recycling plastic bottles are mobiles, wind chimes, models of cars and ships, a moneybox and jewelry. Just use your imagination and you will probably come up with many more ideas.
Statistics show that an alarming 80% of households never consider recycling their plastic bottles. This is just laziness and ignorance. Plastic bottles have a detrimental effect on wildlife by causing them to choke and die. They leach toxins into the oceans and threaten marine life and if they are sent to landfill they take hundreds of years to decompose. It is time to put a stop to this by recycling and using our brains. Instead of sticking your children in front of the TV, invite them to make interesting things with you from recyclable materials. By teaching people about recycling when they are young you will be shaping the way that they view the environment as they grow into adults.
About the Author
Mike Sorensen is a structural engineer and master cabinet maker and the author of an audio blog. He provides tips for soundproofing a room using environmentally-friendly sound production methods and generally tries to do good by Mother Earth.