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How to Upcycle: Old Plastic Jugs

Next time you drink all the milk, don't just toss out the jug it came in.

Just because you’ve finished off the last of your milk or orange juice, you don’t need to toss out the jug it came in. Plastic containers can take hundreds or even thousands of years to biodegrade. But it’s easy to extend their usefulness by turning them into a flower pot, watering can, or pencil holder. Through the process of upcycling, or reusing objects or materials to create a new product, this everyday item can be transformed into something practical and even cool. All you need is a few household supplies.

What you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • Sharpie
  • Push pin
  • Plastic jug


Use a Sharpie to mark around the top of the handle and around the side of the container. Cut out these areas. Voila! You have a plastic spade that is ready to be used in your garden.

Pencil tray

Using the sharpie, mark around the side of the plastic jug and cut this part out. And just like that, you have an eco-friendly place to store your pencils, pens, and desk supplies.

Watering can

Take a push pin and poke holes in the lid of the container. Then, fill the container with water. Now you have an easy and sustainable way to water your garden.

Hanging planter

Mark and cut out the top section of the jug. Then, cut off a small section of the handle, so the container will be able to hang from ledges. Fill the container with flowers and plants, and use to decorate your porch, patio, or garden.

Who would have thought plastic jugs could create so many useful items you can use around your house and garden? To learn more about improving recycling habits and what you can create using discarded objects, tune in for the new season of Human Resources on Pivot, airing Fridays at 10 p.m., ET/PT.

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