The Ultimate Guide to Recycling, Reusing and Repurposing Plastic Items

recycling plastic bottles
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This article was originally posted on eHow for Plastics Make It Possible®.

From water bottles and milk jugs to cleaning product containers and shampoo bottles, it’s safe to say that our homes are filled with plastic packaging that ultimately make our lives more convenient. However, many of us often unknowingly throw away these plastic items that can easily be reused or recycled instead. Recycling and repurposing everyday plastic materials are a lot easier than many may realize, and save you tons of money. Plus, properly recycling these plastics ultimately benefits the environment by reducing the need for more landfills and conserving energy. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered. There are so many simple and creative ways to recycle, reuse and repurpose plastic items, and we’re giving you the ultimate guide on how to do it all!Dasani, plastic bottle, recycling

Photo Credit: Jessica Kielman

Which Plastic Items Can Go in the Recycling Bin?

So, which plastic items can be recycled? Here are some of the best and most common plastic items you can recycle:

  • Plastic bottles
  • Juice and milk cartons
  • Peanut butter jars
  • Salad dressing and cooking oil containers
  • Most cleaning product containers
  • Bleach and laundry detergent containers
  • Shampoo and conditioner bottles
  • Yogurt and butter tubs

Once recycled, most of these plastic containers can be turned into completely new products, including plastic food containers, tote bags, clothing, furniture, composite lumber, benches, carpet, pipes, pet homes, tables and even fencing.

TIP: Recycling programs vary across the country, so be sure to check with your local recycling center to find out which items are accepted for recycling in your community.

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Easy Ways to Start Recycling at Home

Here are some easy recycling tips you can implement in your home to make the recycling process a breeze for you and your family:
Create a garbage and recycling center with separate, designated bins in your home so your family can easily toss recyclable items in a recycling bin instead of the garbage can.
Educate your entire family on how to determine if an item is recyclable. Make a fun chart or list and hang it near your garbage and recycling cans. Plastics Make It Possible® is a wonderful resource for determining what items you can and cannot recycle.
Instead of tossing plastic cups and utensils, simply wash and reuse them.
Use old plastic items in fun new ways.

recycled container, watering can, watering plant
Photo Credit: Jessica Kielman

How to Save and Reuse Plastic Items in Your Home

There are tons of easy and creative ways to reuse some of the plastic items in our homes. Here are a few ideas for reusing those plastic items instead of tossing them:

  • Use an old fruit juice or milk jug to water plants.
  • Save peanut butter jars and use them to store snacks like cheese crackers.
  • Use old salad dressing containers to mix and store your own homemade salad dressings.
  • Store pet food in large plastic snack containers that cheese puffs come in. It will help keep ants at bay.
  • Cut off the bottom of two liter bottles and use them as small planters. They are also great for starting seeds!
  • Wash and reuse plastic soda bottles as pretty water containers for refilling water glasses at dinner.

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How to Transform and Repurpose Plastic Items

If you want to get really creative with your old plastic items and turn them into something completely new, here are a few fun DIY ideas to get you started:

Recycling plastic items is extremely important for our environment. It helps to reduce waste and can help save your family money. By using these recycling and reusing strategies, you will feel good about doing your part to reduce the creation of landfills, increase the quality of our air, and have fun using creative ways to make some of your own products without spending a dime! Be sure to check out Plastics Make It Possible® for tons of information on recycling and the awesome things that can be done with recyclable plastics.