*This is a paid post in partnership with Arla Organic.*
We love upcycling projects at home, so when Arla Organic Milk asked us to take part in a campaign focusing on their eco-cycle bottles, which are recyclable and made from 50% recycled material, I was beaming. Pinterest-worthy ideas started flying through my head and we decided to share our top four ways to upcycle plastic milk bottles with children.
When we came back from Shindig Festival in Somerset a few weeks ago, we were all in awe of the community spirit and collaborative recycling effort. As we left the huge fields, they looked just as they had when we arrived: wild and rubbish-free. All festival-goers took it upon themselves to dispose of their own rubbish, even sorting their waste thanks to a well-planned four-way rubbish disposal system and recycling stations at every corner.
Once you’ve got a system in place, recycling is a doddle. Our local area’s recycling scheme as it is now was devised when my first baby was born, so my children have grown up recycling without even considering putting all their rubbish in the same bin. It’s second nature to them to separate garden waste from milk bottles from batteries from sweet wrappers.
We all love upcycling and repurposing. Throughout the year, we keep things like ribbon, pretty scarves and tissue paper from party bags to wrap presents. Toilet paper rolls get turned into lanterns, advent calendars or even improvised seasonal crafts. Jam jars get washed, sterilised, then used again and again. One day, they might become containers for homemade fudge. Another time. they’ll be used for salad when we’re out and about and they are sometimes transformed into spooky Halloween lanterns or pretty Christmas ones. Baby clothes, when not passed on to family and friends, become pretty bunny garlands or teddies, or are turned into sewing projects with the kids.
So as you can imagine, working with Arla Organic on the launch of their eco-cycle bottle, which is recyclable and made from 50% recycled plastic (which is more than before), made complete sense to us! The whole family wanted to work together so we sat down and decided to have fun but also keep it all fairly simple.
I’d been picturing elaborate ways to upcycle the bottles (think homemade goody bag boxes for Wriggly’s birthday party, a cat-shaped herb pot or a hanging seedling station). As for my children, they had the most refreshingly simple ideas of their own to use the empty Arla Organic eco-cycle bottles. Their first trick? Skittles, of course!
They then decided to make a bottle tower as high as possible, and spent a good ten minutes competing. Who managed to make the highest tower, I hear you ask? Wriggly of course (the others got bored before her!).
Crevette was the one suggesting turning one of the bottles into a soft light for camping. So simple yet incredibly effective. Can you tell we’d just come back from a festival with a headlamp that was way too bright? The light was so harsh it gave Crevette a headache after reading in bed for ten minutes.
Beanie, who is always moaning when I refuse to let her use the hose to water the plants (aka turn the garden into a mud-bath), was our inspiration for the milk bottle watering can. Now, every one of my children can have their own and it took mere seconds to drill holes in the lids. No more arguments. No more using my pretty Orla Kiely watering can. No more risk of drowning my poor plants. Bye bye hose, hello gentle shower!
Ever since she lost her first tooth (at Tottenham Court Road station, of all places), Jumpy has been desperate for her own money box. We have plenty of those at home, but they’ve been emptied so many times that the lids have disappeared… Rather than buying yet another money box, we decided to make one she could actually use to save her money (i.e. a money box from which you can’t retrieve the money unless you cut it open).
So far, she’s managed to save twenty-three coins of various value (mostly from her dad’s suit pockets, I suspect…).
Last but not least, I decided to make a pretty hanging plant pot for my favourite plant: a beautiful string of hearts. I’ve never had green fingers, but this little plant has been striving at home and growing so much since I bought it on Groupon.
Crevette and I decided to create a self-watering system to keep my precious plant healthy and beautiful when I’m away for a few days at a time. It’s the most fiddly of these four projects, but it took very little time to make, and it is so pretty!
Check out our 4 little projects:
- a diffused bedside lamp for camping
- a simple watering can
- a money box you have to smash to retrieve your money
- a self-watering, hanging plant pot
Safety warning: just make sure you leave trickier bits to a responsible adult (i.e. drilling holes in the lids and cutting the milk bottles).
Which one of these ways to upcycle plastic bottles is your favourite? Have you made anything else using a milk bottle?
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Disclosure: This blog post is an advert for Arla Organic but all photos, ideas and opinions are my own.