How can I reuse or recycle old PVC pipes?

We’ve had an email from Madhvi asking :

how can I creatively recycle old PVC pipes?

We’ve covered some reuses for guttering and drainpipes – which are increasingly plastic these days – but I thought it was worth asking Madhvi’s question because PVC pipes come in all sorts of diameters and lengths.

A few months ago, when I was looking to build us a laundry basket for the bedroom, I spotted this PVC pipe laundry hamper project, which I thought was a very neat idea. Depending on the size, that could possibly be made from offcuts or the idea shrunk down if you only had smaller pieces available. In a similar constructed-with-plumbing-joints vein, I also like the idea of this PVC pipe laptop stand and this bike stand.

As for smaller reuses without additional parts, I like this bathroom storage idea – I’m not sure how many people have two sets of curlers but it’s an adaptable idea, especially regarding the cables. You could use them to tidy up electric cables under desks/behind TVs etc – if all the cables go through sections of pipes, they’re less likely to be underfoot and get tangled. (If the end plugs are too wide to go through the pipe, you can cut slot in it to slide the cable through instead – this guy was doing it for something a little different but this is what I mean by a slot.) Similarly, you can use them instead of kitchen roll/toilet roll tubes for storing electric wires & extension cables when they’re not in use – we’re a geeky household, we’ve got a lot of spare wires ;)

And that’s all before we start thinking about ideas for the garden!

As for actual recycling, PVC recycling has increased over recent years but it’s still not as commonly collected for recycling as some other plastics (and it’s harder to recycle too). If you have a lot of pipes to get rid of, contact your local council’s waste department to see if they can accept them for recycling – or if they’re still in a new/usable condition, pass them on to someone else yourself through eBay, Freecycle/Freegle or Craig’s List etc.

How would you reuse or recycle old plastic/PVC pipes? Have you used them anywhere interesting around your home or garden?

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15 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old PVC pipes?”


  1. TopsyAnna says:

    If they have a slot cut in them, cut into sections approx the width of your palm, smooth the edges (eg sand them down) and use to save your hands when carrying heavy plastic bags (by putting handles of bags in plastic slot it stops them cutting into your palms). Easily carried in a handbag or coat pocket.

  2. Caroline says:

    I’ve covered some with plaster wrap and turned them into didgeridoos in the past… you don’t actually need to cover them with plaster but putting on a beeswax mouthpiece does really help… there are various tutorials on the web…

  3. Olia says:

    Cut them into short pieces and give as a gift to people who has hamsters or other rodents: nice toy for the pets.

  4. Olia says:

    Short sections can be used as molds to make candles.

  5. Cappenz says:

    If they are three or four inches in diameter, and you can rig an end- cap, you can make boxes for newspapers delivered to people’s homes. In my town, they deliver papers wrapped in plastic bags, but I plan to try to get them to stop doing this for anyone who has a delivery box to keep the paper dry. I would not buy new materials to make the boxes, but p.v.c. that’s going to be discarded anyway would be a good material for this project.

  6. Andrea says:

    Drive them into the ground near water-loving plants and pour water into the pipes to water them at the roots instead of soil-level.

  7. Beccie says:

    Hi again, Beccie here. I am working on this project now so I can let you know how it works out. I am working on our guest room and the theme of the decor is the Greek Isles. What I am going to do with a large piece of pvc which is probably 8 inches by 6 ft is to cover it with drywall mud and make it into a Greecian column. I can use smaller pieces stuck to the large piece for the design of the column.
    Also, years ago, while just thinking and being creative in my mind, I asked myself, why I couldn’t make outdoor or indoor furniture for that matter with PVC. Only your mind can stop the creative ideas. You can make tables, chairs, bedframes, the list goes on and on. A couple of same size 45, 90, 22.5, degree angle pieces, you can make anything. Be creative and don’t be afraid to try something. Good luck and happy obsessing on what to do next. Beccie

  8. anna says:

    They made a nice wine rack using PVC pipes in an episode of Restaurant Impossible, where they have a budget of $10k for redecorating a whole restaurant from floor to walls and all the details.
    As a piece of wall (maybe 2′ wide shelf) it looked awesome.
    I can’t find a picture of that episode’s wall, but looks like there are several great examples of the use of them for making a wine rack out there.

  9. Audra Lowery says:

    I use pvc pipes as molds for candles that I make from leftover wax.

  10. David Rooney says:

    A wine rack is a great idea, have you got any photos of what the finished product looks like?

  11. Toni says:

    If you have enough of them you can build a fabulous fence that looks like it was made of logs, or a log playhouse. This blog talks about making a fence. http://rmcinc.co/gqmum

  12. Alison says:

    The larger ones are perfect to help protect small trees or saplings.

  13. Not creative at all but we can help get them recycled for you. We’d take free delivery in and recycle in to all sorts from hen houses to planters.

  14. Andy says:

    They could be used for making firewood logs from paper

  15. Tom says:

    we take scrap pipe to produce recycled pvc compounds for new products.



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