Sustainable Life Hacks: Bottle Your Creative Energy

EDITOR’S NOTE: Water cooler conversations at Green Mountain Energy often center on sustainability and conservation. This blog series features some of our best ideas, or “life hacks,” to help you manage your daily activities more efficiently.

I love pretty flower vases and decorated glass bottles for interior decorating purposes – to spice up a room or add some color to your home! However, as I think of all the bottles and containers we as consumers collect, I realize there’s no need for me to buy a vase ever again! Americans throw away about 28 billion bottles and jars every year. See below to learn how to repurpose everyday glass and plastic materials in creative, fun, DIY ways.

Mason Jars

Where you find them: pickles, jellies, peppers, olives

What to do with them:

[caption id="attachment_39946" align="alignright" width="300"] Sustainable-Life-Hacks-Bottle-2.jpg Personalized jars make wonderful presents, too.[/caption]


  • Flower vase
  • Decorate with low or no-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint, non-toxic permanent markers or stencil for a personalized present. You can find good advice on paint that won’t ruin indoor air quality from friends at TreeHouse)
  • Put a tealight in the bottom and tie some ribbon around the top to ‘dress’ it up!
  • Cheese tasting tray: place cubes of cheese into each mason jar with toothpicks accompanying them
  • Use as an organizer: store cotton balls, make-up brushes, sunglasses, etc.

Tapered Glass Bottles

Where you find them: beer, wine and glass soda bottles

What to do with them:


[caption id="attachment_39941" align="alignleft" width="225"] Sustainable-Life-Hacks-Bottle-3.jpg Oh, the potential![/caption]
  • First things first! Drink the wine, beer or soda! Good job.
  • To get the label off of the bottle, follow these steps:
    • Fill your sink with HOT water
    • Fill each bottle with hot water and place it into the sink
    • Add ½ cup baking powder and ½ cup white vinegar
    • Labels come off. Now you can have some fun.
  • Keep your boots from falling over: Stick a bottle in your tall fashion or cowboy boots. Just be sure to take out the bottle before you stick your foot back in!
  • Make it a décor piece: Take painter’s tape and cover the bottle in the pattern you want. Then, spray paint the bottle, again with low- or no-VOC paint, and take the tape off when it is dry.
  • Soda and beer bottles can also be used as nice centerpieces with a fresh flower inside
  • Take the bottle caps and use them to decorate a table.

Short Glass Bottles

Where you find them: perfume bottles

What to do with them:

  • Put reed diffusers inside an empty perfume bottle to fragrance your home
  • Fill your empty perfume bottle with small things you already have on hand, like beads or pasta and place on a nightstand or jewelry armoire

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