How can I make a waterproof(ish) recycling bin from recycled stuff?

glass bottles and jarsOn the “how can I make a bookshelf out of recycled stuff” post a couple of weeks ago, one of our lovely regular readers Alice suggested we should do more posts that way around – how can you do/make something out by recycling or reusing old junk.

I’ve added the idea to our suggestions request page but haven’t had any emails about it just yet, so am posting one from/for me instead.

We’re lucky that we have pretty decent doorstep recycling in Leeds – we’ve got a green wheelie bin for plastic (1 and 4), paper, cardboard, tins/cans etc – but it doesn’t include glass or tetrapak.

Our nearest bottle bank is frustratingly a drive away (why there isn’t one on our low-car-ownership estate is beyond me) so we usually collect up a fair stash and combine it with another trip in that direction. But this means we more often than not have a large amount of glass jars and bottles in our tiny front garden – which is both untidy and a potential safety hazard. The tetrapak stuff is safer but the collection spot even further away so we go there even less.

We need a way to keep this stuff out of the way – and dry: we had a set of plastic drawers out there at one point but they just filled with manky water every time it rained (well, fresh water than quickly turned manky).

So we need a recycling bin/shed thing to hold this stuff in and I’d much rather make one than buy anything. It can’t be too big because we’ve not got that much room and it needs to be reasonably easy to empty too.

Aside from looking out for an old bin (which are few and far between now since everyone’s had council wheelie ones for ages), any suggestions for things to make it from? I’m not particularly handy but willing to give things a go. Any tips on how to keep it from filling with rain or with ever curious cats?

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8 Responses to “How can I make a waterproof(ish) recycling bin from recycled stuff?”

  1. Jo says:

    I don’t have a complete solution, but maybe it doesn’t need to be waterproof, as long as any rain that falls on it can also drain away. The problem with those plastic drawers sounds like it arose out of the rainwater being collected.

    If it was me, I would collect some branches, and build a bivouac shelter for the bottles, which I would pile inside lying on their side so that rainwater wouldn’t collect in them. 1) It would be fun and test my design skills, and 2) it would somewhat disguise the fact I had a pile of bottles in my back garden.

    • louisa says:

      You’re right, Jo – the water needs to drain away, not be completely kept out in the first place.

      I suspect the cats would love to clamber all over a branchy bivouac thing – will keep an eye out for suitable branches…


  2. melissa says:

    Can you not just drill some holes into the bottom of those plastic drawers you were using before? It works well enough for drainage for plants…

  3. Nicole says:

    What about a woven basket made out of those heavy duty strips used to close boxes of paper? That way the water would collect and it would be pliable.

  4. Bobbie says:

    What you need is a bottle tree. It is a sturdy branch or dead tree planted in the ground. Alternately you can build one out of old lumber or weld out of rebar. The limbs are decorated with bottles. Just Google images for “Bottle Tree”

  5. Sarah says:

    On the idea of the bottle tree, why not make one using those allen wrenches from IKEA?

  6. Katz says:

    I found this shed made from plastic bottles – I think it can work on the smaller scale too – for your storage. It’ll keep water out

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