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Reusing Water Bottles

Category Reusing
By refilling or reusing your plastic water bottles you can help reduce the trash in our landfills and save yourself some money. This is a guide about reusing water bottles.


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15 found this helpful
September 22, 2010

Cut the spigot top off of 2 gallon square water containers, cutting straight across. Do not cut into the handle. Under the handle, you can write names or labels with magic marker, if you like. Put these up on closet shelves, bookcases, or under beds. They are perfect to put underwear, bras, socks, etc. in for extra "drawer" space. They are also good for small toys, crayolas, and coloring books too. Use them for mop buckets, outside buckets and especially in the garage on shelves. Great for families with lots of kids.

By Bebe from Aztec

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September 30, 20110 found this helpful

If you are going to have kids using these, you might want to got around the top edge with either tape (duct tape or whatever) or grind the edge down a tad with a dremel-type tool, to remove the very sharp edge. So not fun to slice your hand open while trying to remove something from the container. Great idea, by the way!

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February 24, 2011

This is for people who buy spring/drinking water. I like to keep water bottles on hand for convenience, but do not like spending the money to buy the individual bottles all the time. I use either disposable plastic or glass. The disposable ones, I wash and refill a few times then recycle or I reuse glass soda/soft drink bottles. I like to use the glass ones at home, because they can be reused repeatedly, but the plastic ones are easier to transport.


To make refilling these bottles easier, I place the empty bottles in a cardboard 6-pack soda/beer carrier and put into a dry kitchen sink. Using a funnel, I fill the bottles with purchased one-gallon spring water. This keeps the empty bottles from falling over when trying to fill them. If you do spill some, it will go into the sink. Getting the cardboard carrier a bit wet will not cause any problems as long as long as it doesn't get soaked.

I really do not like buying spring water but in our area, the water tastes terrible. Since we rent our home, we do not have the option to filter our water.

By mkymlp from NE PA /USA

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February 28, 20110 found this helpful

Although we use and prefer Pur (the first 5 mins of new-filter are the only water that comes out tasting bad,) I vote thumbs up for any use of filtered water. It's really too bad that our water supply has to be filtered, but them's the facts... :P

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June 5, 20094 found this helpful

I try not to purchase bottled water but sometimes I forget my water mug. I wondered about what I could do with them since the apartment building I live in doesn't have recycling bins and and I have no room to store them. I also want to remain environmentally friendly by not using/wasting gas unnecessarily to drive five miles away to the recycling center for only a couple of items.

Well, I came up with: Wash them, dry thoroughly and use to freeze chopped veggies and herbs! The bottles are clear so it's easy to see what's in them and they fit beautifully on the freezer door compartment!

I made a funnel with a cone coffee filter but you can use foil, paper bags, etc to easily get the diced and chopped items inside the bottles.

Be sure your veggies and herbs are as dry as possible to prevent freezer burn before funneling ;-)


By Deeli from Richland, WA

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June 7, 20090 found this helpful

Reusing over and over by hanging to catch bees and other insects. Throw out the bugs and reuse the bottle.

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4 found this helpful
September 2, 2010

I keep small recycled bottles like the ones Sunny D comes in and freeze water in them for when my neck or knees act up. Yesterday, I ran out of ice and couldn't get my fresh brewed tea cold. It occurred to me to put the small bottle of ice right in the tea pitcher.


3 found this helpful
February 25, 2013

I have been taking the soda bottles, the little ones, and removing the cap, squeezing them down, and cutting across the top. Then I smooth out the top by cutting it again.


5 found this helpful
February 18, 2013

I was looking on the internet at this farming site, I forget what it was, and someone had cut the end off a water bottle and put holes all up and down on the bottle.


5 found this helpful
May 14, 2012

Funnel To Refill Water Bottles

I like to use the water from my fridge that comes from the filter system outside the door. If you use a small funnel, you'll have no spills.


2 found this helpful
January 2, 2014

You can crush your empty water bottles and place them in a large pot for drainage. I found this to work wonderfully for all my planted pots and is much lighter than using rocks.



Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
February 4, 2009

I hear that plastic bottles are not safe if you use them over and over again as a water bottle. If this is so, then what type of bottle would be best for drinking water out of throughout the day?


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February 7, 20090 found this helpful

I think what is worse is to keep using a plastic water bottle and not clean it properly. They can harbor germs. Also it's not good to leave one of those bottles in your hot car and keep using as the heat will break down the plastic.

I was concerned about this so I saved a glass bottle from Snapple lemonade and just re-use that. I'll admit it isn't as convenient or lightweight as plastic but I can easily wash it over and over in the dishwasher. The lid doesn't screw on as nicely or as tightly as I'd like but works fine for taking in my van with me and keeping in the cup holder.

There are plenty of glass alternatives that you get from products you buy and can recycle rather than having to buy something.

We have filtered water and ice in the door of our frig so I really can't see buying bottled water; however I do occasionally if I have a coupon and buy it for traveling. It's also easy to just fill up an insulated jug with water and take along some cups.

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February 7, 20090 found this helpful

Plastic bottles are fine. Wash them with hot soapy water, or run them through the dishwasher just like anything else.

Check out the Snopes link in the guest post.

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February 7, 20090 found this helpful

I use stainless bottles that I bought at Walmart.

They are easy to clean, hold about 16 oz. of water

and can be recycled so they are environmentally friendly.

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December 5, 20060 found this helpful

I am looking for any ideas that I can make using 8oz plastic water bottles. Any Christmas ideas?

Sylvia from Hammond, LA

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December 6, 20060 found this helpful

fill with sand and use as weights when exercising, or as doorstops.

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December 6, 20060 found this helpful

fill with sand and use as weights when exercising, or as doorstops.

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December 7, 20060 found this helpful

They make really good packages for birthday presents or Christmas presents. Slice a hole in the back about 3 inches and then make like shutters so you can get your stuff inside. You can put tissue paper and streamers, confetti, etc. After you get all your goodies inside, tape the hole shut.

I use 2 liter bottles for this all the time.

You can even mail these without putting them inside another box. Just put your return address, mailing address, and postage.

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0 found this helpful
March 4, 2007

How do you keep the 5 gal. refillable water bottles clean? If you suggest using vinegar, what is the recipe?

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March 7, 20070 found this helpful

I use a little bit of bleach (take a straw, dip it in the bleach, cap it with my finger) and some hot water, put the lid back on and shake it around. Rinse a few times and then dry in my dishwasher while it's open.

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March 8, 20071 found this helpful

Vodka.. I use it to clean out my milk jugs...I feel safer with this rather than bleach or vinegar..I also use it when I re-use my water bottles...

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

June 5, 20090 found this helpful

Do not reuse plastic spring water bottles for a long time. A substance in the plastic breaks down into the water. This is not healthy. Teachers have sent a note to parents packing lunches not to reuse plastic bottles! I have reused bottles many times in the past. No more!

By Sharon L Martin from Canada


Reusing Plastic Water Bottles

There is a expiration date stamped on the plastic bottle with the month and year. It can be on the neck, bottom or on the cap. The plastic bottle should be safe to use up until the expiration date. (07/26/2006)

By Dean

Reusing Plastic Water Bottles

I wonder were this bit of information came from. If the substance in the plastic breaks down in the second water, what keeps it from breaking down in the first water use of the bottle? Would it be because the water bottler wants you to keep buying more water? (07/26/2006)

By Helen

Reusing Plastic Water Bottles

Snopes addresses an email that was going around that referenced a study done by a University of Idaho graduate student that concluded plastic bottles may introduce carcinogens into water as the plastic breaks down. Their conclusion was that this is false, the study has not been peer reviewed and may not be accurate.

i do notice that the longer water is in a plastic bottle, the more the water develops a plastic taste. That's just anecdotal, though.

Snopes also notes: "Some organizations (including the IBWA) do recommend that plastic water bottles be used only once before recycling, but not because re-use is likely to cause carcinogenic compounds to leach from the plastic bottles into the liquids they hold. The concern is that people (particularly children) can too easily spread and ingest bacteria from their hands and mouths by re-using bottles without properly washing them or allowing them sufficient time to dry."

Maybe that is what concerns the school?

And Helen, that is a very good question. If the plastic isn't safe to reuse, why is it safe in the first place when bottled water is supposed to have a quite a long shelf life. (07/26/2006)

By lewis_admin

Reusing Plastic Water Bottles

From what I heard on the John Tesh radio show, the problem is not carcinogens leeching into the water. The problem is bacteria builds up over time. Further, micro fissures quickly develop in the thin plastic giving the bacteria a perfect place to grow, and the plastic bottles are very difficult to clean, which compounds the problem. The study he cited recommended not reusing the bottles for more then a week, and to wash them with hot soapy water and air dry between each use. (07/26/2006)

By V_Bratovski

Reusing Plastic Water Bottles

We're in the hurricane zone so when hurricane season ends, we use up our supply and then replace it again when the season rolls back around. If your water is in a spare refrigerator, or even inside in a climate controlled atmosphere, then it probably will last a lot longer. If it's stored in a hot garage, probably a lot less.

As far as reusing the bottles, from what I understand, the issue with bacteria lies in the fact that most people probably don't wash them well enough, but even if they did, chemically speaking, the plastics used to make single-use bottles are not designed to stand up to washing. Therefore, the heat from wash water - either from hand washing or machine washing (and possibly also from the detergents used) - can degrade the plastic of the bottles, increasing the likelihood of chemical leaching.


By mef1957

Reusing Plastic Water Bottles

I checked this out on the internet, and learned that this is not true. The FDA has checked out PET and permits multiple uses. The expiration date is for the water, as over time, bacteria can multiply, even in the original unopened water bottle. (07/27/2006)

By Linda

Reusing Plastic Water Bottles

This is from :

The original version of this email begins by saying "Many are unaware of poisoning caused by re-using plastic bottles," and says "bottles are safe for one-time use only; if you must keep them longer, it should be or no more than a few days, a week max, and keep them away from heat as well." The email says the bottles contain DEHA, which it calls a potential carcinogen.

A newer (2007) version of the email quotes an unidentified doctor as saying women should not drink bottled water that has been left in a car because the heat and the plastic of the bottle have certain chemicals that can lead to breast cancer.


These emails are apparently based on a student's college thesis. In fact, DEHA is not inherent in the plastic used to make these bottles, and even if it was the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says DEHA "cannot reasonably be anticipated to cause cancer, teratogenic effects, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, gene mutations, liver, kidney, reproductive, or developmental toxicity or other serious or irreversible chronic health effects." Meanwhile, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), says diethylhexyl adipate"is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans."

and this from USC:

To keep reusable plastic water bottles germ and odor free, USC sports teams wash them at least twice a week in the dishwasher, notes Sue Lerner, assistant athletic/medical trainer for the USC Department of Athletics. "Some people use a weekly sanitizing rinse of one teaspoon of bleach in a quart of water," she says. And most importantly: "Let the bottle air dry completely every night."

I re-use the bottles for about a month or so myself, and have had no problems. (11/27/2007)

By djk01

Reusing Plastic Water Bottles

I need to do this for a science fair project. Maybe you should try doing an experiment on it too. It could be fun and it would help you get a good result. This could also get you extra credit. If you don't want to do this though I have found in my research numerous answers that it is inf act un-healthy. Bacteria could grow in your water bottle without you knowing it. Unless you rinse the water bottle out it is unsafe. Please trust me, I am detailed in science and I am sure this answer is correct. (09/15/2008)

By Erin

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December 5, 20060 found this helpful

My husband who paints cars at home uses our empty single serving water bottles for mixing paint. He cuts the tops off, which he can then use as a funnel, and the bottom of the plastic bottle is strong for the chemicals he needs to mix. No money wasted here, every little bit helps. Thank you.

By Michelle F from Pawnee, IL


Uses For Water Bottles

Just a safety note.

Please remember that while recycling and re-using is good, NEVER use a drink container of any kind [the cut down containers do not seem to fall into this category - I'm not talking about those] for anything other than drinkable substances.

This is a standard poisoning prevention tip. Children see a drink container and automatically think it is ok to drink. As a former EMT, believe me - kids CAN and DO drink the most awful smelling and tasting stuff. (08/28/2006)

By aardvark

Uses For Water Bottles

This is such a good way of using the plastic water bottles more than once. It is now said that reusing these bottles for water, etc. is not safe as the plastic can leak chemicals into the drink. It is good to find other ways to reuse these to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our landfills.

I reuse these bottles to make pots for houseplants. Punch holes in the bottom for drainage, then set them into planters that disguise the bottle. You can surround bottles with potting soil or pebbles, or not. This way a plant can be removed or changed as the needed. When using them for pots for resale at bazaars or gift, etc., do not punch holes in bottom and cover with paper, cloths, etc. Tie with ribbon. (08/28/2006)

By CamsCottage

Uses For Water Bottles

Good idea about using for funnel! Thank you! (08/28/2006)

By Bobbie

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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