How can I reuse or recycle … water cooler bottles?

Watercooler bottleI know most water cooler bottles already go back to the supplier for reuse or recycling (she says, hopefully) but what about ideas for those ones that get lost along the way?

John rescued one from a skip near his work the other day and brought it home thinking we could use it as a cloche or something in the garden – but since we already have lots of drinks bottles set aside for that purpose, I’m trying to think of something else to do with it instead.

The plastic is so solid it seems a shame to cut it up but there isn’t a lid so I can’t think what we would bottle in it.

Any suggestions?

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34 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … water cooler bottles?”

  1. Sharon Sugrue says:

    You could donate it to a local youth group that could utilise through perhaps junk modelling (use it dor the main body of a robot). Also it oculd be used as part of a drum kit utilising other items that would normally be recycled or disposed. Charities may use as a receptacle for donations particularily coins. Also useful watering can perhaps.

  2. Angie says:

    Hi do you still have this? I am looking for one for a project. Will you sell it to me?

  3. Al says:


    These are really hard to get hold of because they are one fo the few things reused as a matter of course

  4. Amanda Kerik says:

    While a little involved, there is a pretty cool project you can do:

    Cut a hole in the bottom of the bottle, fill it with soil, make a stand out of wood to hold the bottle upside down and use it as a planter!

    Make sure you push the soil firmly into the neck, then put the neck in a bowl / container of water.

    The soil will wick the water as needed.

    Feel free to make a skirt to hide the bottle if you want – it’ll stop algae from growing where the sun hits as well.

  5. Anne says:

    We have ours standing in the hall, every week we put all loose change into it, and at X-mas time donate all the money to charity

  6. Graham says:

    This may not be to everyone’s taste…
    I cut the top off of mine, removed the seal, and replaced the top upside down in the barrel. Along with a rainwater filled watering can to flush, this became a garden shed based urinal for collecting fertiliser.

  7. Peter Haw says:

    School science departments could use them for a number of practicals -eg. greenhouses, gas experiments.etc. Do you have any spare. I am in Surrey.
    Peter Haw

    • Thomas Phelan says:



  8. Amber says:

    I would donate it to a school science class. I had a science teacher who used one to make a pretty neat explosion. She swished a couple of tablespoons of rubbing alcohol around in the bottom, then held a long fireplace match over the mouth and fwoom! It blew out a couple of the ceiling tiles :) (Oh, don’t try this at home, by the way.)

  9. renee says:

    you can turn them into an outdoor fly catcher…

  10. Katie says:

    Has anyone seen ‘brainiacs’ on TV they used one to make a rocket, using a rubber stopper and a bicycle pump? Fill it part with water put in the stopper and a valve from the pump and pump it up, whoosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Google it!)

  11. Mike R says:

    Just hit it tucked under your arm as a great drum. I wanted to take some from work but just learnt I can’t! I’m devastated!

  12. Emily says:

    Hi there,

    I’m trying to get as many empty water cooler bottles as possible for a charity raft race.

    If you have a few or lots and lots, I can collect! Please call on 07801 212 958

    :) Emily

  13. Bad monkey says:

    Makes an ideal mini greenhouse to start ur seedlings or protect new plants from attack.

  14. Gary T says:

    guys, i need 2 empties if anyone has/knows where to get…

    would be much appreciated

    garyt85 (remove the spaces)


  15. RobertD says:

    how many gold dollars will fit in a water cooler jar

  16. Olia says:

    Make beer or Russian sour-sweet drink called kvas. Use a cork to close the opening. Make your own vine.

  17. Olia says:

    Cut off the thin part, and make into a side table.
    Or, cut off the bottom and turn into a ceiling light fixture.

  18. Olia says:

    Store grains, beans, etc. in it.

  19. Ada says:

    Dear All,
    I desperately need 8 cooler bottles for my project, I am shooting film and in urgent need for the bottles. I could buy them or borrow or if you are willing to give them for free i would be enormously grateful. Even if you have one or two, it would help a lot. I am based in London.
    please get back to me!
    0 7 9 8 1 6 4 0 8 3 0

  20. Nims says:

    Dear All,

    I’m a science teacher looking to do some chemistry experiments in which the main ingredients are water cooler bottles.

    Does anyone know where I can get hold of some?

    I would be sooo grateful

    My email is:

    Thank you


  21. Paul Tyrrell says:

    I would be very grateful to have these bottles to use for school science experiments.. they are great!

    Plese email me if you can donate empty water cooler bottles?

  22. Great read, you’ve got very distinctive style. Keep up! Is it possible to subscribe to your fresh posts? I’ve tried the RSS button but I didn’t make it, maybe I did something wrong.

  23. Garry says:

    I would SO love to have a few of these water bottles if anyone has got any to spare. As others have said, they can be used in schools for science experiments.
    I am located in Surrey (West) and would be prepared to collect within a reasonable distance. Please email me if you can any of these bottles.
    Many thanks,

  24. I’d really like to track down a couple of these bottles, if I possibly can.

    If anyone has any they can donate, I’d happily pay for transport, or come and pick them up.

  25. I took 2 of those water bottles and a board into the woods and made a bench. I turned the bottles upside down so the tapered end was down, and I stuck ’em into small holes I dug. The board is simply set across the bottles and voila! A nice place to sit and enjoy nature. ~Jack at

  26. Rianna says:

    I try to conserve and life eco-friendly whenever possible and this is a great example of that. Cheers!

  27. Hi guys, at Eden Springs we are committed to recycling and reusing the water cooler bottles as Louise said, and I would recommend passing empty bottles back onto us and companies such as Eden as we can most effectively and efficiently recycle them. Eden Springs are the first UK water cooler company to be certified as a carbon-neutral low carbon company, so ensuring everything is used in as green a method as possible is key to what we do!

    Damien Higgins, Eden Springs UK

  28. Sorry, I messed up the signature in the previous post! Hope this one displays better…

    We’ve actually had a number of requests for used water bottled for art projects, and are happy to help in most circumstances if it is for community projects or charity initiatives – otherwise it is best for us to reuse and recycle the bottles as much as possible. If you would like some you can apply through our water donation form,uk,5,4.html.

    Damien Higgins, Eden Springs UK

  29. shirley says:

    I’m looking for instructions to convert water cooler bottles to bird feeders, something I can hang or place in a frame or stand, and won’t need filling every week. It gets a bit much trudging through 2ft.+ of snow in our northern winters. Thanks much.

  30. Cate says:

    At my area, there is a guy who refills the bottles with water. That way we don’t have to worry about buy other containers

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