"Recycle" is the last in reduce-reuse-recycle triad, and though it's an obvious choice for plastic bottles, there are ways to make the most of every bottle. I drink from every bottle for some time and still I slowly make a deposit of such bottles. Many of my friends are not so eco-friendly and they buy a lot of these containers, so there is enough plastic bottles for something bigger to do with them before recyclation.

One of my ideas is something like this - a raft:

enter image description here

Normally I would join the bottles together by some kind of an adhesive tape. It has some advantages - it's easy to use and it can be recycled along with the bottles. But still it's a significant amount of material used with no sensible reuse option (if you know some, it counts for an answer!).

There must be some alternative way to join the bottles using just reused materials and/or materials that can be reused later (preferably but not necessarily if it's salvage is not almost as difficult as the raft construction). Do you now any examples of such a material, tell me!
If some more difficult task is required, please add a how-to paragraph and/or link to some tutorial to do it.

  • 2
    I am uncertian how this relates to sustainability. I would think that the use of the bottles as a liquid container would be more sustainable than using them as a boat that is likely to become pollution and litter should it break up in the water. – user141 Apr 15 '13 at 19:48
  • @Chad: you misunderstood me. I'm talking about reusing the bottles after using them as a liquid container for one, two, three, ten times or so, or if I can't reuse the bottles as a liquid container. I already addressed this issue in the first paragraph of my question. – Pavel Apr 16 '13 at 9:16
  • Are there more images with instructions as to how this craft was made? – user1418 May 8 '14 at 17:33
  • @MWBrown: I haven't done it myself yet (lack of time), the image in my question is just randomly grabbed from net. However, if my friends (who like such ideas much more than I) will build something like this and some pictures and/or instructions will get online, I'll send a link. The instructions shouldn't be hard to find, and I think no one will complaint if you add a comment with links to few of the best ones. Or even edit my post to add them. I don't feel like looking for the really good ones between the manuals I found online when I asked the question. – Pavel May 9 '14 at 10:59

There is a nice and quite detailed tutorial on how to do this on Instructables.

They are solving the problem of holding the raft together by using garden mesh. If you have a garden, or know somebody who has a garden, it shouldn't be hard to get your hands on some of this and I'm pretty sure you can use it again as garden mesh once you don't use your raft anymore (so no resources lost there)

Bottles held together by garden mesh

Also their design is somewhat different from the one on your picture.

  • I have finally inspected this answer in detail and it is much closer to what I expected than the answer I accepted previously (so +1 and accepted). That the design is different is no problem, the raft on my picture is just a random illustration. – Pavel May 12 '14 at 15:15

Plastic bags can be cut into strips and made into rope of various thicknesses and durability. You could then tie the bottles together.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Useful-Rope-or-Cord-from-Plastic-Shopping-Bags/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KiZXRK5h44


One possible problem: plastic is usually photo-degradable.

It doesn't matter when you keep a plastic bottle in your house, but if your raft stays 12 hours/day in plain sunshine, it may leak within months.

I had similar experience: the cheap plastic hose I bought lasted only 2 months under Indonesian sun.


I was on this quest myself a year ago and found articles like this made with 55-gallon barrels like the ones used for rain collection. I still want to do this - good luck with your quest!

  • My interrest is to reuse plastic bottles, raft is just the nicest thing to do with them. We have couple of similar barrels in our garden, but they are used for gathering rainwater from roofs, and after they become useless for it, they will be useless for a raft too. – Pavel Apr 11 '13 at 7:07
  • One use of plastic bottle I had no time to test is as a filter for rain water. Fill one with sand and the next one with active carbon (You'll find it at the pharmacy). Seal with some cloth. – Madlozoz May 13 '14 at 7:10

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