How can I reuse or recycle plastic milk bottles?

Plastic milk bottleA few weeks ago, on the coconut shells post, I found a very cool way to reuse plastic milk bottles to make covered bird feeders for small birds (UPDATE – the link I had has stopped working, the next best one uses big milk jugs but the same principle applies to smaller bottles too, from a 2pint/1ltr upward).

But as we’ve only got one tree in the garden (and that’s not really a tree, it’s an overgrown bush which is very cat-accessible), I’d love to find out other ways to reuse them rather than just slinging them in the recycling bin.

Any ideas?

Best Suggestions

  • Reduce: Use a milk delivery company if available in your area – their glass bottles are sterilised and reused again and again.
  • Reuse: There are lots of reuses around the home and garden: whole, they’re easy-pour storage for flour/other dry goods, as watering cans – or filled with water, exercise weights. Cut up, they can be used as scoops for dry pet food (or pet poop!), planters, slug traps and bird feeders.
  • Recycle: Most plastic milk bottles are made from HDPE – plastic number 2 – which is widely recyclable.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

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69 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle plastic milk bottles?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    lol love this

  2. Jimmy Robinson says:


    I have made a PhotoShow on the recycling of milk cartons and would welcome your comments.

    My email address is


    Jimmy Robinson

  3. pauline says:

    I take all my milk bottles into work as we use them for paint holders…cutting the top off. Glue bowls…cutting two inches off the bottom and using that as a tray for glue. We also cut the tops off including the handle and create our own elephants with them. You incorportate the handle as a trunk of the elephant, cut out upside down u shapes on the sides, making the “corners” of the container to legs…then let the kids decorate them as they wish. I take the lid off and place a square of thin glitzy material over the spout then replace the lid…then decorate the lid with glitter, gems or whatever takes your fancy..and just let the children decorate at their will. SOME FANTASTIC DESIGNS…thats using the whole carton as the bottoms are not thrown away we use them as paint containers as reported at the front of this post.

  4. J says:

    Milk Jug Lunch Box or container (great for sandwiches or gifts):

  5. Mary Anne says:

    I actually love making jewelry and other things with the plastic as it cuts and punches like butter. Any paper punches work, and scissors.

    You can sew, and paint (acrylic paints or Krylon fusion plastic paint) the milk bottle plastic. I have seen awesome Halloween life size skeleton decorations out of milk jugs….google and you will find those.

    Portable boxes can easily be created with milk jugs and yogurt bottles of all sizes. Easily washable and use for snacks, lunch boxes, or jewelry holders:

    Here are some images from my past jewelry work-in-progress with milk jug plastic.

  6. dave says:

    2 litres – I cut off as high as possible on the flat sides. I can then stack one inside another. Push in as far as you want. Camping – for each day – bottom one has my supper. next one has tea, next has lunch. next has breakfast cooking(eggs, bacon, sausages etc) top one has breakfast cereal. Top one acts as a lid and I put tins or similar in these. These all go in my cool box and I’m ready for anything.
    1 litre – do the same but use to store knives, forks, spoons etc and put the top on upside down so it seals.
    So light, and as I use each one it slides down into the next so takes up less space.
    Also makes a handy container for a penny stove and its fuel, matches etc.

  7. Anonymous says:

    u suk

  8. Alicia says:

    I used 2L bottle as a hanging basket in the garden fence wall. Cut the other side of the hande to open up the top. Then fill with Soil and put the flower in. One the plant grow bigger it covers the bottle. The handle , you can use to hand it on the wall or through the loop along the fence. Cheap and beautiful method.

  9. jaque says:

    I ate plastic before xx

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