By doing a little bit of recycling, and adding a pinch of creativity, you can find new uses for old things that range from practical to stylish to delightfully ridiculous

By Bree Meiklejohn

In the latter part of last year, I was diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder.

I’m not trying to elicit pity from you by telling you this, dear reader. Quite the opposite in fact, as I was overjoyed to understand more about how my brain functions. But, even more so, I was ecstatic to finally have the words to contextualize the past two decades of my experiences with my mental health. 

Having been undiagnosed and untreated for so long meant that I did have some adjustments in my lifestyle to consider, like attending regular therapy sessions and taking prescribed antidepressant and antianxiety medications daily. But, after a few months my prescription bottles have begun to pile up. I’m always looking for ways to reduce my carbon footprint, so instead of simply throwing them away, I found a few fun ways to reuse these bottles. 

#1: A Sewing Kit

Having an emergency sewing kit on you can be a lifesaver if you happen to rip your clothes in public. Because prescription drug bottles are solid plastic with a sealable cap, you can keep things like needles inside without worrying whether they’ll fall out or poke through. In this case, I have a few pins, some thread, and a needle, perfect for having to quickly stitch a tear. I recommended the idea to a friend who cosplays, and she liked the idea of having an emergency repair kit come con season. 

#2 A Seed Starter

Having a house plant or two can liven up a space. By using a prescription bottle as a seed starter, you can grow your own by placing a germinated seed in potting soil and repotting it once the plant grows large enough. I’ve wanted to grow some of my own food and herbs for a while, so this spring I’m planning on starting a strawberry, rosemary, or dill plant using this method. Plus, the sides of the bottle are transparent, so I’ll be able to watch the seed begin to take root. 

(insert photo of makeup brush holder)

#3 Makeup Brush Holder

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to makeup. But luckily, I had a tall prescription bottle laying around that I could use to help organize my brushes. I really enjoyed the way the brushes formed a bouquet from out of the bottle, so it looks far more decorative than if they were just laying haphazardly in the depths of my makeup bag. Now I can save myself the time needed to rummage around looking for the right brush

#4 A Jewelry Holder

If you don’t have a jewelry box, I think using an old prescription bottle can help keep your rings, earrings, and other small, precious items in one place. I fear losing the back of my earrings constantly, especially when I need to take them out during the day, or when travelling. My favourite pairs of earrings, the lightsabers seen above, don’t have their own backs so I always have to substitute them out. By keeping them in this makeshift jewelry holder, I can rest easier knowing everything is in one place and will be there the next time I need it

#5 String Lights

This may be the least practical use of old bottles, but it’s definitely my favourite. Nothing says “I’m mentally ill” like making decorations out of your old medication bottles. I was able to find a tube of string lights at Dollarama for about two bucks, I used a screwdriver to punch holes in the side, and strung the lights through. As more bottles accumulate, I can add more to the strand and hang it from my wall in my bedroom to brighten up the atmosphere. You can also have a variety of bottle sizes on your string lights, as seen above, to add a little variation. Also, something about seeing the way the lights twinkle in those empty mental illness maracas makes me smile whenever I look at it. It may just be because I use dark humour as a coping mechanism, but I find it hilarious. 

These are far from the only uses you can find by recycling old prescription bottles, but they did happen to be the ones most useful to myself.

These bottles can also be made into coin purses, earbud holders, or an emergency snack container. If you wanted to, you could even spruce up the containers by adding ribbon, lace, or other kinds of crafting materials to your creations.

By doing a little bit of recycling, and adding a pinch of creativity, you can find new uses for old things that range from practical to stylish to delightfully ridiculous.