Home > Blog

Awesome Ways to Reuse and Recycle Prescription Bottles

By Carissa Andrews  •   October 27, 2014

If you happen to be one of the millions of people who take medications regularly, you know that prescription bottles can become a bit of a challenge. If you’re like me, you hate throwing away anything that can be composted, burned, or recycled/upcycled. Many recycling centers don’t recycle prescription bottles due to the number of plastic they are made from (typically #5). Fortunately, there are some creative, thrifty ways to re-use your bottles, and keep them out of our landfills at the same time.

Before you get started on any creative project using old pill bottles, there are three important tips to remember:

• Wash and dry thoroughly before re-use, so they are free of any leftover drug residue

• Protect your privacy by soaking the bottles to remove all labels

• Make up new labels for whatever is about to be stored inside

SEE ALSO: The Top 10 Most Expensive Prescription Medications

Here are some of the creative and useful ways you can turn your trash into treasure.

Organize Yourself

1. The Office: Use them to organize your paperclips, extra staples, rubber bands, tacks, and even upcycle to make a desktop pencil sharpener out of it.

Recycling Prescription Bottles for Organizing Stationery Items | Photo by Tiffany
Recycling Prescription Bottles for Organizing Stationery Items | Photo by Tiffany

2. The Junk Drawer: Gather up all those loose bits floating around in your junk drawer and keep them together in one convenient location.

3. The Toolbox: Fill these little gems of organization with loose screws, nails, bolts, and drill bits. Get fancy by gluing the tops of the pillboxes under a shelf for easy storage that's out of the way.

4. The Kitchen: Store extra spices, customized blends/rubs, herbs, teas, and more in these airtight containers. *Side note: Be sure the containers are boiled or sanitized before use and don't give food items to small children in these containers. We wouldn't want to confuse them.

5. The Garden: Extra seed storage is a no-brainer for these compact containers. Store them straight from the packet, or save your heirloom seeds straight from your garden.

6. On-The-Go:

• The Car: Organize your coins for tollbooths, parking meters, or when you might need some spare change.

• Camping: Keep matches dry by creating a waterproof matchbox. Or put your fishing tackling in a neat and easy to find see-through container.

Upcycle: Gifts and Crafts

1. Holiday Gifts and Decorations: There are a myriad of holiday uses for these little buggers. Turn them into cute trick or treat bottles just by visiting our Reusing and Recycling Prescription Bottles board on Pinterest and getting ideas. The uses are unlimited when you use your imagination.

Upcycling Prescription Bottles for Trick or Treat | Photo by Tiffany
Upcycling Prescription Bottles for Trick or Treat | Photo by Tiffany

2. Sewing Supplies: Organize spools of thread, needles, buttons, and more. Turn them into cute little sewing kits to keep handy or give away.

3. Crafty: Make art with these versatile containers. People all over the world have used them to make beautiful things from mosaics, sculptures, and even some gorgeous chandeliers! What sorts of things could you envision making?

Charitable Uses

1. Veterinarians: Some veterinary offices and local humane societies will take washed bottles with the labels removed to use for their animal prescriptions. Check around your town to see if any of them do in your area.

2. Homeless Shelters: There are some community projects in place that collect bottles for issuing prescriptions to the homeless. Check with your local community action to see if they offer a program in your area.

3. Third-World Countries: Your empty bottles could help with medical aid to third-world countries. Amvet and other such charities have programs that send empty, clean pill bottles for use in impoverished countries.

4. Recycle: While not everyone will have this option, it's still worth a mention. Some cities do allow you to recycle your prescription bottles. Check with your local pharmacy and recycling centers to see if they accept them.

What other uses can you think up for reusing or recycling your old pill containers? Do you have something we haven't discussed here? If so, leave us a comment below.


is an passionate author and freelancer from Minnesotan with a focus in creative writing.


The purpose of the above content is to raise awareness only and does not advocate treatment or diagnosis. This information should not be substituted for your physician's consultation and it should not indicate that use of the drug is safe and suitable for you or your (pet). Seek professional medical advice and treatment if you have any questions or concerns.