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Recycle Your Empty Shampoo Bottles


PhytoCitrus Shampoo 2008

If you like trying out a number of different shampoos and conditioners like I do, please remember to save those empty bottles.

They can be useful in more ways than you can imagine. (Trust me—I’m not trying to shill for Martha Stuart here) Shampoo bottles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and both the plastic and glass ones can be used for hobbies, decoration, household use, on vacation, and many other things.


In my spare time, I’m a beader, and at any time I have literally thousands of beads in my office. I keep a lot of them in plastic sectioned boxes, but there are several that either don’t fit in or that I don’t use often enough to go into the boxes.

That’s when the ever-handy empty shampoo bottle does the trick. Round up those stray beads in the empties, screw the top on, and presto—you have them easily visible and accessible for use.

The empties with larger openings make great pen and pencil holders, too. They don’t take up much space on your desk, and you can easily see what you’ve got.

If you’re a knitter, and don’t like to roll your yarn in balls, use them to wrap yarn around for easy storage.

If you’re a weekend painter, the empties will keep acrylics and water colors handy for when inspiration strikes and you’re dying to paint a sunset.


Some of the glass shampoo (or conditioner) bottles like the ones from Phyto are quite pretty, and make excellent vases for wildflowers or those bunches of daisies and carnations at the supermarket.

If you are a collector like me, try the glass empties to store and show off your collections of beach glass, colored marbles, buttons, pretty pebbles, and tiny shells. Also, try filling them with colored water or bath salts as decoration for your bathroom. Dribble different-colored sand in layers in the glass empties to make pretty decorations as gifts.


The household uses for empty shampoo bottles are nearly endless. I use scoopable litter for the cat box, and don’t like having that big cat litter jug beside it. Store clean cat litter in the empties and keep them by the cat box for refills as needed.

The empties can also be put to good use in the tool shed or garage for storing nails, screws, washers, and so on. Some shampoo forumulas come in great tins that look like a thermos and are great for storing small metal spares.

If you like sewing, they are great for keeping buttons and sewing notions sorted and visible.

Use a couple of plastic ones to roll your scarves around and store in drawers--this will keep them from getting wrinkled.

You can also use the plastic empties to roll your panty hose around—use one for tan, one for black, one for navy, etc. This keeps them from snagging, and also makes it easy to tell what color panty hose you have in the drawer.

Love board games but hate how the pieces keep getting lost? Try corralling them in separate bottles and label. The empties also make terrific lightweight dumbbells when filled with sand.

Do you love aromatherapy but hate the prices? Try mixing up your own scents with essential oils and glycerine, perfume and water (about half and half), and vanilla and water.


During hot weather, fill plastic empties with water and freeze—a great way to keep picnic foods cold, and provide an ‘instant cool’ on hands, neck, and face. Also, when they melt, use the water to clean sandy feet.

Keep some in the bathroom for kids’ bathtime, pool, or beach—they’ll have a great time filling them up, squirting them at each other, etc.

Mix up “camp soap” for car trips—half dish soap and half water—makes a great way to keep clean on the run. Take a few down to the beach to collect beach glass, pebbles, and small shells. Keep your favorite lotion in an empty bottle for the car.


The following are some great ideas for general use of the all-purpose empty shampoo bottle:

  • Keep your bobby pins, hairclips, and so on in one place.

  • Round up stray pins, pushpins, clips, etc. for the office.

  • Packing material—place several empty plastic containers around what you’re packing to protect it.

  • For the musically inclined, use different sized plastic ones to create different percussive sounds (a la Stomp)—kids especially love this.

So there you have it. Don’t heave those empty shampoo bottles now that you know how useful they can be!

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