How to Repurpose Single-Use Plastic Into Reusable Storage Containers
I’m excited to share how you can give single-use plastics a new life by turning them into reusable storage containers. Repurposing plastic is an easy and affordable way to reduce waste while also getting organizational tools for your home. With a little creativity, you can upcycle plastic bottles, containers, and bags into containers perfect for food storage, small items, workshop supplies, and more.
Gather Your Supplies
To get started, you’ll need to collect clean plastic items destined for the recycling bin or trash. Great candidates include:
- Plastic bottles – Soda, water, juice, milk, cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc. Remove any labels.
- Food containers – Yogurt cups, butter tubs, takeout containers. Make sure they have not contained raw meat, fish, or eggs.
- Plastic bags – Zip top bags, grocery bags, bubble wrap sleeves. Cut into usable sheets.
You’ll also need basic craft supplies:
- Scissors to cut plastic into shapes
- Hot glue gun for assembling containers
- Acrylic paint and/or markers to decorate (optional)
Clean and Prepare the Plastic
Before repurposing, thoroughly clean each plastic item with hot soapy water. This removes food residue and germs.
To prepare for cutting:
- Remove labels – Use a razor or steel wool scrubber to remove sticky residue
- Remove bottoms of bottles – Cut off uneven bottoms so bottles have straight edges
- Cut bags into flat sheets – Eliminate seams for easier manipulation
Tip: Wear gloves during cleaning to avoid getting cut.
Design and Cut Panels
Next, lay out your plastic pieces and decide what shapes and sizes to cut for your containers. Consider the final use and dimensions needed.
Use scissors to cut the plastic into panels. Straight lines work best. Cuts may be easier if you gently score the plastic a few times with a blade first.
- Large bottle halves – Great for open storage bins
- Bottle shoulders – Makes side panels when cut horizontally
- Rectangles and squares – Cut from flat bags and bottle/container sides
Assemble the Container
Arrange the cut panels into the final container shape. Use hot glue to adhere the pieces together at the edges and seams. Work on a nonstick surface like parchment paper.
Bend panels into shape as you go. Place glue strategically near edges and clamp pieces until set. Avoid over-gluing as it can melt the plastic.
Add Features and Embellish
Now make your container functional and decorative:
- Lids – Glue on plastic tops from bottles or other items
- Handles – Cut straps from bags and glue to sides
- Labels – Cover with pretty duct tape or decorate with paint pens
- Add shelf liner for grip
Get creative with shapes, colors, and textures!
Use Your Upcycled Containers
Once assembled, fill your unique containers with supplies and store or display them around your home!
Plastic bottle storage is perfect for organizing:
- Food pantry ingredients like rice, pasta, granola
- Bathroom essentials like cotton balls and swabs
- Craft closet supplies like ribbon, googly eyes
- Workshop small parts, nails, nuts and bolts
Repurposed plastic is eco-friendly and gives new life to discarded materials. With a little effort, you can make custom containers that declutter your home while reducing waste. Get creative repurposing plastic today!