How to upcycle two-liter soda bottles

Photo by Sam Schipani

Office gatherings, birthday parties and backyard barbecues can lead to sacks of empty two-liter soda bottles. But with a little ingenuity, you can upcycle those bottles into something useful.

Research shows that over half of Americans enjoy a sugary drink every day. Besides the health impacts of super sugary drinks — including weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  — soda also takes a toll on the environment. According to a 2013 life-cycle analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom that looked at the environmental impact of carbonated beverages, packaging is the main culprit for soda’s impact on the planet.

Even if you aren’t hosting, you can salvage those soda bottles and reuse them around your house. Here are 13 ways to do so.

Bird feeder

Attract birds to your hard by upcycling your two-liter soda bottles and old wooden kitchen spoons into a beautiful bird feeder and filling it with wild birds’ favorite food. This DIY from Kelly Leigh Creates shows you how to attract birds to your yard with this handy upcycled feeder.

Toilet water savings

Save water when you flush by putting a weighted two liter soda bottle in the tank. The empty soda bottle takes up space in the tank that would normally be filled with water, so less water is used both to flush the tank and fill the toilet again. The simple trick can help you save up to 10 gallons of water per day. Put a few pebbles or other weighted material in the bottle and place it in the tank in the back of your toilet. Be sure the bottle is not touching the working parts of the toilet.


A direct stream from a hose can be a little intense for your plants or frolicking children. Poke holes in a clean two-liter plastic soda bottle using a sharp-edged tool or a drill and fasten the hose to the mouth of the perforated soda bottle using either a one-inch connector or duct tape. Turn on the tap and the homemade sprinkler is ready to water your garden or for your children to play in.

Piggy bank

This fun craft will help you track your savings when you spend less on groceries, gardening supplies or just around the homestead in general. Check out this DIY from Sassy Townhouse Living to create a cute piggy bank out of used plastic bottles of various sizes (we suggest two-liter to encourage more savings).

Storage containers

Bulk quantities of small, dry foods like beans, grains and cereal can be easily stored in plastic soda bottles (be sure to avoid storing anything perishable or susceptible to bugs, though). Thoroughly clean and dry the bottles and use a funnel to pour the food into the bottle. Seal tight with the cap. Store in a cool, dry location.

Drip irrigation

Make fast work of watering your plants with this handy hack. Much like with your used plastic milk jugs, you can drill a few holes in your cleaned plastic soda bottles, bury them so that the mouth emerges from the soil and fill with water in order to make your own water-efficient drip irrigation system. The Gardening Cook shows you how to make your own and includes some handy reader tips in this instructional.

Automatic water dispenser

Keep your pets hydrated while you are out during the day using an automatic water dispenser upcycled from two-liter soda bottles. Fill a two-liter soda bottle with water and and set up an apparatus to hold it over your pet’s water bowl. As your pet drinks and the water dips low enough so that the full bottle is no longer submerged, water will come flowing out to replace the displaced liquid. This DIY from Instructables shows you how.

Self-watering planters

Want to grow herbs in your apartment but always forget to water? You can create your own self-watering planters for shallow-rooted plants using upcycled two-liter soda bottles.


  • Two-liter soda bottle
  • Scissors
  • Yarn, string or a strip of fabric from an old t-shirt
  • Drill or other sharp object
  • Potting soil
  • Water


  1. Cut your two-liter soda bottle in half.
  2. Drill or poke a hole in the cap of the top half of the soda bottle.
  3. Run your yarn, string or strip of fabric half way through the hole. This will serve as your wick.
  4. Fill the bottom half of the two-liter soda bottle with water.
  5. Snugly fit the top half upside-down in the bottom half, so that the wick is submerged in the water.
  6. Fill the top half with potting soil.
  7. Plant your seeds or transplant your plant into your self-watering planter.

Hanging garden

Take your soda bottle container garden to the next level. If you want to maximize your outdoor or apartment space, consider making a hanging garden out of two liter soda bottles (they are slightly thicker and more likely to stand up against the weight of soil and plants than water bottles). This comprehensive step-by-step WikiHow article shows you how.

Watering can

The lightweight, easily-squeezable plastic makes soda bottles an excellent makeshift watering garden, especially for seedlings and tender young plants that need special attention paid to their roots. Drill holes in the cap, fill with water and use it to spray your plants.


Save money on this handy season extender by making them out of the top half of a two-liter soda bottle. Simply cut the bottle in half and place the top half over your tender seedlings to protect them from unexpected chill. Remove the cap of the bottle during the day in order to relieve heat and prevent moisture or mold buildup.

Snack bowls

If you have already cut the top half off of your two-liter bottles for cloches, used the bottom half to make snack bowls. Melt the jagged cut edge of the bottom half of a soda bottle smooth by pressing it on a warm pan, decorate the outside as you please and fill with your favorite snacks.

Full-sized greenhouse

Only for the craftiest among us. If you have accumulated a large number of two-liter soda bottles that need a new life, follow this DIY from Dengarden to make your own full-sized greenhouse.

Do you have a creative way to upcycle two-liter soda bottles? Share in the comments below.

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