What Are Some Creative Ways To Recycle?

Ogbo Godfrey

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Creative recycling can give a new life to any item, no matter how simple or complicated. All you need is a good sense of creativity and some know-how and you’ll be able to invent creative ways to recycle old items. 

Creative recycling is using old things to make new things, giving them a second chance at life. A used yogurt jar, for example, can be turned into a vase for a seedling. Instead, old clothes can cover sofas or make rag dolls.

Creative recycling projects can help save the planet. If you want to know about creative projects you can do that involve recycling, this article is for you.

Doing these creative recycling projects will be a lot of fun, whether by yourself or your family. It is safe to say that many people have forgotten the old “make-do” philosophy. Everything in modern life seems to be thrown away quickly.

However, slowing down and considering creative uses for basic items have many advantages. Creative recycling benefits the environment, saves money, and can serve as the foundation for a fun and interesting hobby. 

Nowadays, more people are going one step further and converting their recycling ideas into profitable endeavors. Some are even starting businesses that revolve around upcycling objects that would otherwise be thrown away.

This article gives a lot of ideas for making creative things out of old things. These ideas are great for the environment and a lot of fun.

Creative ways to recycle

What Kinds of Items Can Be Recycled?

If you want to start making things useful from a recycled item, you might be surprised at how many items you can creatively reuse. Unlike dental floss, a plastic bottle can be transformed into a garden sprinkler, bird feeder, or watering can.

Don’t think the only place an item could go is in the trash. There are creative ways to recycle a lot of common things. These things include the following:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Egg cartons
  • Box for shoes
  • Broken and old tiles
  • Bottle caps
  • Mailing tubes
  • DVDs and CDs
  • Lightsabers
  • Christmas tree
  • Carpets
  • Plastic containers
  • Paper rolls (from toilet paper and kitchen towel)
  • Metals
  • Clothes 
  • Books
  • Plastic Planters
  • Corks
  • Glass containers

This is not a complete list, but it gives you a good idea of how many things can be used for more than just what they were made for. These items can either be upcycled or downcycled.

Let’s look at the meaning of upcycling and downcycling.

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Upcycling is a way to recycle creatively by turning things that would have been thrown away into things that can be used. People often do this when they reuse wooden pallets to make things like stairs or outdoor seating areas.

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Upcycling can also be done with things much smaller than pallets. For example, wine corks can be used in many ways in upcycling projects. Creative people have made everything from kitchen backboards to bathmats and plant labels out of them.

Upcycling can make both beautiful and useful things. For example, an upside-down plastic bottle can water a plant pot while someone is on vacation. In either case, the items are used again instead of being thrown away.


We hear a lot about upcycling these days. Some people even use upcycled items to start their businesses. 

Downcycling is also useful, but it involves breaking things down into their parts, which usually have less value than the whole thing they came from.

Most of the time, downcycling is done on a large scale. But if you want to make creative things out of your trash, you can find examples of downcycling that work as personal projects, like using old clothes as dusters or linings for pet beds or making drinks coasters out of old CDs and DVDs.

Creative Recycling For Common Items

This section explores some common items that most people always have around and discusses some creative ways they can be used.

One main project is suggested for each item, along with many other ideas.

Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles are a big problem for the environment right now, and there is a lot of pressure to use them less. You don’t have to throw them away because there are many things you can do with them.

The Jet Pack Costume

There are dozens of useful ways to reuse plastic bottles, but the jet pack costume is easy to make and a hit with kids.

The center of the costume can be made from just a piece of cardboard. On one side, there are straps, and on the other, there are two large plastic bottles that face down. 

With a little paint and some orange tissue paper for flames, these are easy to make and can be changed to fit your needs. They are also quick so that you can make handfuls for a party.

More creative recycling ideas for plastic bottles

Here are some more things you can do to recycle plastic bottles:

  • Garden sprinklers
  • Mailing tubes let you mail candy, crayons, or paper.
  • Bird feeders
  • Organizers for pens or makeup
  • Spades and scoops
  • Piggy banks
  • Garden Pots
  • Snack storage
Reusing plastic bottles is one of the creative ways to recycle old bottles.


Dentists and manufacturers say that toothbrushes should be changed at least every three months, so you will likely have many.

Most of the time, old toothbrushes are used to clean the house. Their bristles are great for scrubbing surfaces, and their size lets them get into hard-to-reach places. But old toothbrushes can be used for many other things, and some can be reused in other projects.

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A Bracelet with a Toothbrush

Using an old toothbrush to make a bracelet might initially sound like a bad idea, but you cut off the bristles first. Then, boiling water should be enough to get the plastic of the toothbrush to bend just how you want it to.

If you use a toothbrush with a design that kids like, you can make an interesting and one-of-a-kind bracelet. And if your child has a toothbrush with a superhero, it can be turned into a bracelet when it wears out.

More ways to reuse a toothbrush

Here are some more things you can do with your old toothbrushes:

  • Paint brushes for kids or for flicking and splattering paint on other creative projects.
  • Pollinator of seeds
  • The sweetcorn brush – The only thing better than a clean toothbrush for getting the stringy silks off corn-on-the-cob is another clean toothbrush.


Making metal sculptures is a fun and useful way to reuse scrap metal. Almost any metal can be used to make statues and other forms. 

Some metals are harder to work with than others and may need extra tools. For example, harder metals may need to be heated to bend and reshape. 

However, working with lighter metals like copper and aluminum can be very easy, and you can end up with some beautiful works of art.

This is a great way to reuse metal, and the sculptures can be made of any size. If you are ambitious, you can make a sculpture with small plants on top or different levels, depending on your shape. It’s a surefire way to get your neighbors’ or guests’ attention.

Glass Jars

Making candles is a simple way to put old glass jars to use again. You need to buy soy wax flakes and melt them over low heat. Then, add old crayons to your candle to give it the color you desire, and drop in essential oils to give it a scent.

Let your wax cool while you glue a wick to the bottom of your jar, pour the wax in, adjust the wick, and let your candle stiffen.

More Recycling Ideas for Glass bottles

  • Storing kitchen essentials.
  • Holding toiletries next to your bathroom sink.
You can use glass jars to make candles at home.

Paper Rolls

Everyone has a steady supply of paper rolls and toilet paper from the middle of the kitchen. Even though it may seem like there aren’t many things you can do with these, the fact that there are so many of them has inspired many people to get creative, and they’ve come up with some great ideas.

Even if you could be more creative, you should be able to find a way to use them that will keep many of them from being thrown away.

Toy Garage

You’d be hard-pressed to find a parent who wouldn’t like an idea that helps keep the house cleaner, and this toy garage does just that with a box and a bunch of old paper rolls.

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You must use a shoe box or something bigger and put used paper rolls in rows inside. Then, you can use each roll to hold a single toy car or other small toys. 

This is a much neater way to store these things, and putting the toys in place is fun enough that even a very young toddler might be persuaded to join in.

More Recycling Ideas For Paper Rolls

Here are some more ways you can recycle your paper rolls:

  • Christmas, Easter, and Halloween decorations that are painted or colored.
  • Small gift boxes for soaps or jewelry.
  • Marble run toys for kids.
  • Organizers for things like pens, crayons, and makeup.
  • Starter pots for seedlings.
  • Pet toys.
  • Napkin rings.
  • Storing shoe laces and wires.


This article gives an insight into what can be done with what most people throw away.

There are a lot more creative ideas in the world. As was already said, some people build businesses around the amazing things they make from things that would normally be thrown away.

Doing something creative with these things is good for the environment. Also, if you can make something you would have bought, you might save money. 

Many of these projects are so easy that you don’t even need to be creative to do them. So, the next time you are about to throw something away, think about how you could use it again. Now, you should be able to think of a lot of ideas.

Let us know in the comment section if you have any other ideas. 

Ogbo Godfrey
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