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I have seen several people ask about uses for pill bottles and decided to give my assorted uses for them.
By Linda from Bloomington, IL from Bloomington, IL
By Kirsten from Logan, UT
You can use a prescription bottle to make a little sewing kit for travel or as a gift for a college student. It's the perfect size to fit a couple small spools of thread, a few needles, a needle threader, a thimble and some buttons.
For quite some time, I've been using old vitamin bottles, pill bottles, etc., to store the lancets, blood test strips, etc., I use to check my glucose levels, until they can be disposed of. They are much cheaper, e.g., $0.00, relative, than the sharps containers sold at the drug counters; are more compact; easier to store; and easier to dispose of.
Source: My wife suggested it one day after I had filled a store-bought container, and was lamenting not having gotten a new one.
By w shipman from Owensboro, KY
Instead of buying travel sized bottles of shampoo and other things, at our house we used old prescription medicine bottles. They ones with the kid proof lid from Walgreen's can hold liquids with out leaking. It saves a lot of money and helps the environment too. The best way to mark the bottle is to write what it in it on a paper label with a sharpie marker.
Source: This is a tip we came up with after learning the the Walgreen's prescription bottles could hold water without leaking.
By McCollonough from TN
Editor's Note: Check with your airlines to make sure that this would be acceptable for airport security checks.
Fill empty prescription bottles with the labels removed two thirds full of water and freeze for a quick little ice pack for children's "owies". This would also be a nice portable thing to take on a picnic or hike for the same use.
By Monica from Cortez, CO
When I create a "custom" color with acrylic paint, I'll pour the "leftovers" into an empty, clean prescription bottle.
I have had some rather large pill bottles that would hold a lot of coins, so I decided to sort them and label each bottle by quarter, dime and so on. I was amazed how much money you can save in those pill bottles.
This is a guide about making a pill bottle first aid kit. Having a mini first aid kit in your purse or backpack can come in handy.
I am on several different medications and every month I would throw the bottles away, because I did not know of any use for them, other than beading. The other night, I thought maybe they can be used in the bottom of plant jars, along with rocks.
This is a guide about making a pill bottle hide-a-key. It is easy to have a weather proof hidden key outside your home to make sure you can always get inside.
I found the labels were really easy to get off my med bottles, so I am going to use them for this year's and last years seeds. I may also use them for craft stuff. So now whenever I finish a medication I clean the bottle and remove the label.
When putting away seasonal things that contain loose screws, bolts, etc., take an empty safety capped pill bottle to store them in. Label and then select a drawer or empty tool box/container to keep them in.
I save pill and film containers to put quarters in - for laundry, toll booths, snack vending machines, car wash, vacuum coin slots, or anything else I need quarters for in a hurry. They fit easily in my purse or in my car cup holder and they don't take up too much room.
Rather than throwing them away or into the recycle bin, you can make many creative projects using medicine or pill bottles. This is a guide about craft ideas for used medicine or pill bottles.
This little craft makes a plain pill bottle into a pretty storage container, by using the picture from a greeting card. I used mine for my sewing needles.
When you are all done with a prescription bottle, save it to discard old craft needles or small knives in. Throw out the entire container. Wide containers also will hold a rotary cutter blade to dispose of.
Use old clean medicine containers to store change, buttons, or anything small. Just make sure you wash it carefully.
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.
Are there any uses other than tossing?
YES! You never throw them away!! I empty, boil, remove label & keep some for bead storage & I am currently making them into pill storage for my purse! Pill boxes are too expensive so I'm creating them myself. There are thousands of uses for all sizes of plastic pill bottles! If you don't want yours, please send them to people such as myself who do in fact Upcycle, Recycle! I'd be glad to send you my address!
Where can you sell empty prescription bottles?
By Brenda from Fairhaven, MA
You may be able to recycle them, but you won't be able to sell them. They can't be re-used for other medications. Pills tend to leave a bit of themselves in the bottle and combining that drug with another could be dangerous.
You can recycle them. Take them to your pharmacy and drop them off. Or you can recycle them for your own purposes, like buttons or bead.
I too have been looking for a "taker" for my prescription bottles. I have about 6 per month, which adds up. I can't stand the idea of these going into the landfill, but pharmacies don't take them. I know you can't sell them, but isn't there somebody who can use a lot of them for some purpose?
Does anyone have any ideas on how to use empty prescription bottles? Unfortunately I receive many medications on a monthly basis and I really do not want to throw them out. I have been using the large ones to collect spare change, mainly quarters for laundry. Thanks for your feedback!
By Myrna from Bronx, NY
Can I legally reuse my prescription bottles? I put flax seed in empty ones. Do I have to take the label off?
How can I earn money with old medicine bottles?
Angelica from Thomaston, GA
I think you woud have to make sure that they are TOTALLY clean - no residue at all - and the label peeled off. You could put small things into them and maybe decorate the outside somehow? and sell them as some sort of unique gift for older kids, put homemade lip balm or lotion into them, Market them as travel holders for safety pins/toothpicks/sewing kit.
Good luck with this. Remember that one man's trash is another man's million dollars!
What do you mean by medicine bottles? Do you mean plastic prescription medicine containers? I wasn't aware you could earn money with them. Could you give anymore info? Were you wanting to making something with them, or Sell the empty containers? You need to be more specific as I don't know for sure what you mean.
I have tons of empty prescription containers that I've pulled off the labels and 'cept for saving a few for my own use, plan to see if I can donate to an animal hospital for them to dispense pet meds.
I don't know that you can earn a lot of money with pill bottles they do however, have uses. We run a bird rescue and toys are very expensive. I sometimes use the bottles as foot toys for the smaller guys. I put plastic 'pony' beads inside so it makes a rattle noise. They LOVE it. Diane
If we are speaking of used prescription bottles. I have taken stock. I use the larger ones to store cone/stick incense. I also use the larger ones to store fresh,dried herbs. The smaller bottles I use as vitamin organizers. I glue 7 to a box, and marked each lid with the corresponding letter of the week. My daughter makes jewelry, so we use the small bottles for findings and beads,etc, etc,.
Are you referring to old, glass medicine bottles?
ok a friend online gave me this and im giving it to you .make sugarscrub there are lots of online reciepes and put them in bottles and sell on ebay as samples of your homemade bath scrub. as you get orders start saving glass bottles and start using them for larger quanities.and make sure you put in your ad they are purchasing a homemade product and you use recycled glass containers. my friend out in the midwest did this and is doing very well with it.by the way you could also bring them with you and give samples to all the people you deal with everyday. it may take alittle time but they will buy. good luck and god bless
I do not want to make money. But I think it is a waste for me to be throwing them away the plastic prescription medicine containers. Yes some of them I have used to put screws and long nails plus cotton balls in them what about the rest. Some one will come up with what can be done with them I hope. Thank You Marion
Just an idea. I have alot of empty orange plastic medicine bottles and I use to throw them away. One day it snapped. I took a board, 2x4, and screwed the lids to the bottom side of the board and then attached the bottles to the lids. I labeled all of them for my husband. I use the for screws nuts and bolts in the garage. He loved it. Hope this helped someone. Thanks!
If you mean vintage bottles, many people like to collect them. I would think you could put them on consignment at a local antique store or sell them on eBay.
Has anybody figured out a use for those blue cases that some prescriptions come in?
By sheila hagen from Boise, ID
Do you mean the blue flat dispensers that you have to pop out the pill daily? What a waste and a "pain" to deal with. Wonder which genius dreamed those up! Would be nice to think up a use for the old ones but I don't have a clue sorry!
If you find a local crafter on freecycle.com, you can donate them.
People find that quarters for the laundry work great in them. You can use them for camping to keep matches dry, esp' if they are the kind that seal well. You can roll stamps inside, keep office supplies and first aid in your car or dorm.
Here is something that I did and submitted. Just keep in mind, tiny, airtight, see through, and if you don't need them, donate them to the local crafter's guild. They will erect a shrine to you!
Now, if you are talking about the ones that flip up, then those are great for buttons, separating coins for parking, keeping fake nails apart, bead storage and more then there is room in my brain at 3:36am!
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
I have a zillion empty old prescription bottles, the plastic kind and don't have the heart to get rid of them. I know they could be used for something. Any ideas?
My daughter loves to do crafts and make things, so we save all the bottles and she uses them to make stools and chairs and other little things. They are also great for storing little beads and buttons in for kids crafts. Also good for storing bulk sprinkles for cake decorating in. (the stuff that you buy in a bag or from bulk bins). They are great in the home office for storing paper clips or other small things in. There are I'm sure 101 uses or more for these bottles. (03/16/2002)
I use the white screw top bottles and make cute computer generated gag labels and attach them. Put candy inside. Visit some of the party stores, Spencer's, etc. that carry silly gag gifts and get some ideas. (03/16/2002)
By Syd Barr
You can break them up in small pieces; melt them in a metal container in the oven and pour into molds to make such things as key chains, paper weights, etc. Hope this helps. (03/16/2002)
Sometimes veterinary offices or animal shelters can use them. Be sure to remove the labels.
Lynn from West of Eugene, OR (03/17/2002)
I asked at all the pharmacies in town, until one pharmacist gave me the name of a guy that collects them (turns out it was somebody I already knew, but wasn't aware of this aspect of him). His church group has missions in Haiti, and the mission doctors use the prescription bottles to dispense medicines. I remove the labels as they are emptied, save them in a plastic grocery bag hanging on a hook in my utility room, and drop them off when the bag fills up. Most drugstores will not take them as the contents could become contaminated from the previous medicine.
Becki in Indiana (03/19/2002)
Check with the mission board of your church. I have heard that clean, used prescription bottles can be used overseas where they are in short supply. (03/19/2002)
I use the small medicine bottles as miniature vases for small early spring flowers that are small and have short stems. Miniature tete a tete daffodils especially look good in the yellow bottles. (03/19/2002)
There are lots of uses for those bottles, especially if they do not have the child proof caps. Do you have grandkids? I bet they could think of a bunch of ways to use them (the first which comes to mind is bug collector containers). Call your local elementary school, or even Jr. High. Small water proof containers that seal tight can be used by many different people in different ways.
If nothing else, if you have a "penny pincher" type paper where small ads are free (the publisher makes money by selling the paper itself, not by charging for the ads), place an ad for someone to get them. Or bag all of them up and sell them for a quarter for the whole bag at a garage sale. If doing this, you may want to make sure the labels are all off. This ensures your privacy, and would not give drug seekers a reason to case your house if you happen to have to use narcotic pain relievers. (03/20/2002)
The Pill Bottles are good for coins and small portions of shampoo, liquid soap, lotion, etc. for overnight trips or in your purse. You can put sequins and jewelry making or repairing supplies in them. Even short stemmed flowers, also extremely good for rooting cuttings. (03/20/2002)
I do crafts and I use the bottles for beads, needles, buttons, and things like that. As for the lids I use them to hold small amounts of paint or use them to hold up something that I am painting, so that it is not resting on the paper. (04/08/2002)
I make computer generated "funny" labels for gag gifts or party favours, put individually wrapped candy inside. For example, "Special Birthday Candy. Everyone needs some "hugs and kisses" on their birthday. Is it OK if they are chocolate?" Use your imagination. You can get some ideas from "party stores" that carry gag gifts. Print Master is a great program for this. (04/20/2002)
By Syd Barr
I buy M and Ms; pick out enough of the same color (orange is good) and fill the bottle with all the same color and make a "prescription label" and glue it with the regular old stick glue that comes in the "chapstick tube". On the prescription label, I put something like "NICE PILLS" chew one when you're feeling grumpy, or other cutie sayings. jc (04/30/2002)
I used one for holding a half used candle when a true candle holder was MIA. (02/19/2005)
I would be very careful about the med containers. One of the biggest dangers to health care providers is the "inhalation" of drug powder residues on pills, capsules, and liquids. If you are concerned about the health of children, you probably should be concerned about anyone handling containers. Here is a real good example: the hair loss medications for men (like Propecia) should not be handled by any women of childbearing age because of the chance of birth defects to unborn male children. Be really careful.
The containers don't lose their residue and it is a dangerous practice, that is why your health care provider tells you to throw them away when you are done. The issue about Procepia isn't the "known" pregnant person, rather the woman who does not know that she is pregnant and is hurting her child. There are many studies done on various drugs, antibiotics, heart meds, narcotics, etc, which indicate the re-use of these containers for any purpose is not a good one, which is why you are advised to toss them. Melt, maybe. These are not toys. Tossing them is wasteful, but safer. (05/02/2006)
You really need to be careful about putting candy in prescription bottles. If children are in the home they could easily think any pill bottle contained candy and could be injured or killed by taking someone's real medicine thinking it was candy. (01/30/2007)
I checked with my Pharmacist about the bottle containing remnants of the medication after being cleaned, he said that this would not happen. My mother in-law stores her spices in them and he said that this is safe and that the residue will not leach into the plastic so as long as you get rid of the residue they will be safe. (03/24/2008)
Anyone have any ideas of what to do with old prescription bottles? I have been saving them for a long time. I want to use them for something useful or crafty, but haven't thought of anything yet. I have lots of different sizes.
Irene from Ft Lauderdale, FL
I took 1 large and 4 small bottles,labels and caps removed, and using a good glue meant for plastic, I glued them together in a tight circle, with a tall one in the middle. They make lovely tray favour vases or keepsakes when filled with small real or silk flowers. P.S. Miniduck, have you thought about using stained glass paint(Gallery Glass is one) to color your bottles red? (08/27/2007)
By Mary Lou
I used some of the larger size bottles for sorting and storing my jewelry when traveling. It was a mobile jewelry box. I have some pieces that match, so I would roll the necklaces in a tissue and drop the earrings and ring that matched in to keep things in a set. You can label if you like. When we leave our hotel room, we stuffed them into the toes of shoes to hide them if there wasn't a safe.
The taller/skinnier bottles I used to hold bobby pins, barrettes etc. Again, really nice for travel or storage. If you have large bottles, you can put ponytailers around the outside and fill the inside with other items.
Also great for storing spare keys you don't use often. Just label the outside. (08/27/2007)
I am a volunteer who gets a meal break during my shift. I carry a child's toothbrush in my purse and use an empty pill bottle for a cover. Use an X-acto knife and cut a slit in the lid then thread the handle through it. The lid acts like a cuff to catch any toothpaste or water drips during use, too. (08/28/2007)
Many years ago, I worked in a pharmacy and the store was having a decorating contest for Christmas. I took some of the bottles with the caps painted red) and glued them to a wreath form. I then tied a large green/red bow and glue to the bottom. It won second prize for originality, especially fitting for a pharmacy. (08/28/2007)
You can drill a small hole in the bottom. String your Christmas lights into them and hang outside for decorations on holidays. It really does look nice. Throw away only the covers. (08/28/2007)
Good for holding coins, buttons, roll of stamps,small sewing kit (thread,needle, and foiled single edge blade) (08/29/2007)
Thanks guys for all the great ideas! (08/30/2007)
I use them as a travel kit for cotton balls soaked with nail polish remover. The cotton balls stay saturated and can easily remove my nailpolish.
By Paula Moreno
My Aunt had a ton of small bottles from liquid medicine for breathing treatments, ea. 1 1/2 inches. She had a counter dividing the kitchen and dining rm. 5 ft. long and wanted to close the gap between counter and ceiling. She poked a hole in each bottom, placed them on a wooden dowel matching top to top - bottom to bottom w/glue. 12 dowels, 2 pcs. of 1 inch x 5 foot trim, glue, white spray paint and a few nails she made the most beautiful "wooden bric-a-brac" her friends ever saw! No one ever knew except me what it really was, even her Realtor when she sold her house! (12/14/2007)
I would like to know how to collect the bottles and get them to a foreign country to save the doctor's money. I understand they cost $4.oo each and it is such a waste of money when we throw them away. I know that local doctors visit the foreign countries and do doctoring free. This would surely help. (03/26/2008)
Editor's Note: I would try a non profit organization such as the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, or Mercy Corps.
PLEASE DO NOT EVER FLUSH YOUR MEDICATION DOWN THE TOILET. Take it to a collection site for proper disposal. Some pharmacies are starting to accept unused/expired medications, such as Elephant Pharmacy in the bay area. Flushing meds down the toilet gets pharmaceuticals into our water supply. It's been in the news a lot recently. Learn more at: www.teleosis.org.
FYI many local Humane Associations and various animal rescue organizations are glad to have prescription bottles to reuse. ALSO they are happy to have "leftover" animal meds. (08/28/2008)
By J. Lee
Doh! What great ideas! I'm always looking for salad dressing holders and forgetting my travel shampoo bottles. Thanks everyone! (10/08/2008)
All my needles are bottled, as are my pins and buttons. My son's coins are sorted and I don't garden so don"t save seeds. Am not an artist so no paints to store. My humane people don't need them. SO, in other words I have done all the things listed above and I still have BOTTLES GALORE. What else is there to do with them? Does anyone have any instructions to build a house out of them, maybe I could do that. I need a new house. Ha. Rachel (10/18/2008)
I use empty prescription bottles for quarters and store them in the glove compartment of my car. They come in handy for car washes and also in case I want to buy a newspaper from a newspaper stand. Billie in Melbourne, FL (01/26/2009)
By Billie C.
I use mine for making gag gifts. M and M Menopause Relief pills, Old Age Pills, anything like that. My SS friends seem to love them.
I have a good idea for med bottles. Put on the outside of the bottle for Emergency Use with the information on your meds, allergies, phone numbers, doctors, diabetic or any other health problems on a piece of paper on the inside (03/01/2009)
My husband and I have a lot of medicine bottles that I throw away. I hate throwing them away if they can be used for something else. Could someone give me some ideas on how to recycle them?
Does anyone have ideas for using medicine bottles? I have a bucket full of clean, empty plastic pill bottles. Hate to just toss them.