Garden Upcycling


We don’t like plastic going into our waterways and woods. But the fact is companies that distribute millions of plastic containers along with their products don’t come near 100% recycling of those same containers. And if they don’t take back their plastic, it stands to reason the plastic we faithfully recycle can’t be getting reused. Any number of articles, such as this from The Guardian, confirm it. The best thing we can do with plastic is substitute what we take in for something we might otherwise buy. The effort will be small, per person, but the more people who get in the habit, the greater the cumulative gain. Most plastic things we bring into our homes are containers of some kind. Storage tubs that come with butter or yogurt, are easily cycled onwards as…storage tubs. When you start upcycling containers into crafts: candle holders, pencil holders—crafting supply holders, for that matter—you run out of need for such items pretty quickly.

There are a number of uses gardeners can get out of the plastics we accumulate. A few ideas, below:


Photo of lip balm tubes

Lip balm tubes are odd things. They’re inconveniently sized, as to causing trouble for wildlife, ocean creatures in particular. The little bullets are mostly empty, as you see above, with the labels stripped off.


Photo of lip balm product

And this is how much product is left after the mechanism stops screwing any more above the tube’s edge. You won’t enjoy the leftover as lip balm, unless you don’t mind the nuisance of fingering it out. You can, though, use it as a fingernail/toenail treatment. It’s mostly wax. Meanwhile, the tubes, as demonstrated, can be used by gardeners to store seed we collect. Let your seed dry completely before you seal it away.


Photo of pot cut to be plant collar

Sometimes animals insist on digging up things you’ve just planted. You can make protective collars, cut a nursery pot with teeth at the bottom like this, sharp enough to penetrate soft soil. Otherwise, anchor them with sticks.


Photo of larkspurs with collars

Here are two larkspurs that needed help, after being repeatedly trampled and bothered with.


Photo of water jugs

Three things you can do with water jugs (some of which are also refillable at the store.) First, you can cut them in half to make cloches for protecting tender seedlings from frost, or encouraging cuttings to root. Second, use them as intended, fill them from the hose and carry all the water you need to the back of the garden in one wheelbarrow load. Third, save them until you have several, fill them two-thirds, and build a rectangle. Cap it with a piece of Plexiglas, an old window, or one of those plastic sheets used for dropped ceiling light fixtures, and you have a cold frame for starting early vegetables.


Photo of cat treat container

Finally, for today’s ideas, these jumbo cat treat containers are fine for human treats, too.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s