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Earth Day 2013

Loans, Student Loans

Earth Day is a day marked to celebrate all the health and wellness of our planet.  Each year our ecosystem provides us with thousands tons of raw materials, vegetables and resources for us to survive.  Today is the day that we remind ourselves that oftentimes we do more than just take resources. The off-products of what we consume can damage the earth from which we took it from.  While we can make oaths to consume less in the future, we must also take steps to reduce waste.

The great thing about Earth Day is that it can be celebrated by anyone and on any scale.  Upcycling has been a recent trend and to celebrate, we’ve provided a guide for individuals on how to upcycle parts from plastic, aluminum and glass soda cans, one of the largest waste products of our past generations.

Before we get started, here are some introductory facts about the waste from plastic bottles:

According to MSLK’s Watershed project which was designed to make people more aware of plastic bottle waste: 

There are over 50 billion bottles bought each year and over 80% end up in landfills despite available recycling programs

17 million barrels of oil are used producing bottles each year

Plastic from landfills can often leach toxins into the water, which have been linked to many health problems

We, as a group, can decide on methods to reduce our consumption of bottled goods in the future, but we can also take steps to keep them out of our landfills!  These upcycling projects are also fun ways to create awareness about the fight against excessive bottle waste.

1. Soda Can Lanterns

Simply gather empty aluminum soda cans and buy a few candles.  Slice open the cans and hang the lanterns!  An inexpensive, green and easy way to light up the night.  You can get full DIY videos on YouTube.

2. vases

So simple and easy, why not?  Create a chance to slow down and smell the roses by making some beautiful upcycled vases to hold those roses.  Grab the spray paint color of your choice and apply it to your favorite cans!

3. Soda Bottle Bottom Curtain

Who knew that the bottom of a plastic soda bottle could be used to make something so gorgeous.  Collect enough of these soda bottle, cut off the bottoms and link them with fishing wire to create a beautiful scene.

4. Planters

Some plants can grow anywhere—anywhere including old plastic soda bottles.  Slice open one side, suspend them from hooks with old wire and you’ve got yourself a hanging garden.

5. Jewelry

The pull tab of aluminum soda cans has been made into various forms of jewelry for years. You can get as creative as painting them a different color before attaching them with jewelry supplies to create unique earrings.

6. Bird Feeder

Not only are you saving the earth by upcycling a plastic soda bottle, you’re also feeding cute little chickadees with your awesome new bird feeder.  Screw in a hook at the cap to hang the bottle.  Create holes for sticks or spoons for the birds to perch on.  Fill the bottle with seeds, hang and watch your new flighty friends enjoy their meal.

7. Piggy Bank

Need to learn to stash some money away?  Want to teach a child the fun of saving money instead of squandering it?  Use an old plastic bottle to create a good old fashioned piggy bank!  Slice a slot at the top, buy some paper supplies and pegs for the legs at the bottom and assemble your new handy dandy eco-friendly piggy bank. 

8. Desk Storage

Always the type to have a ton of small items scattered across your desk?  Here’s your chance to organize and upcycle some old plastic bottles.  Simple slice off the bottom parts of plastic bottles, paint them and cover the sharp edges with felt and glue. Now, organize the rest of your belongings!

9. Sprinkler

This is a shout-out to the high-achieving upcyclers out there that take the creativity of upcycling to new boundaries.  A soda bottle sprinkler is not just a way to recycle, it’s also a fun project that takes time and often a lot of experimenting to get right.  If you think you’re up to the challenge, you can find instructional videos online.