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Mom’s trick for repurposing old pill bottles is so smart

Sarah Teresinki shows pill bottle recycling hack

Sustainable stylist Sarah Teresinski fills her TikTok feed with ideas to put old products to new uses. One of her viral videos shows a great hack for turning a prescription pill canister into a little ice pack. And it’s genius!

She starts by bringing up an all-too-common problem: We all end up with plastic pill canisters hanging around sometimes. What do we do with them?

Teresinski simply removes the label and washes the container out with hot, soapy water. Then she refills it with clean water and places it in the fridge. The ice-filled container can be used as an ice pack for kids’ cuts and scrapes, or to keep things cold in a lunchbox. She’s never experienced a leak, either.

“I literally use this all the time,” she explains in her pill-bottle upcycling clip on TikTok. “It is a game-changer.”

Watch the video here:

@redeux_style My fav Plastic Upcycle/Hack using old pill bottles! #hack #upcycle #rework #diy #thriftflip #homedecor #upcycling #upcycle #diy #thriftflip #homedecor #upcycles #rework #upcycling #thriftflip #organize #reuse #recycle #secondhandstyle #transform #oldtonew #upcycleddesign #makers #upcyclersoftiktok #makersoftiktok #upcycling ♬ Pure Imagination – Kathleen

This little trick may seem like a small way to help the environment. But if everyone looked for ways to recycle or upcycle these canisters, the effect could be profound. According to the sustainable healthcare company Cabinet Health, 90% of plastic medicine bottles — 165 billion single-use plastic products that can’t always be recycled curbside — end up in landfills, the oceans or even in the air supply.

Judging by the comments below Teresinski’s video, a lot of people are coming up with their own ways to reuse these pill containers and keep them out of the waste stream.

“I have one in my car for toothpicks,” wrote Tara Brock825 . “I also keep them in my crafting room for small amounts of resin projects, good for hair ties in my purse too.”

Another commenter said her grandma always used old pill bottles to hide her house key, and another still said she keeps them filled with change in her car for emergencies.

Other commenters use the bottles to hold screws, seeds, clips, hair ties, or small amounts of homemade lotion. Or, they take advantage of drop-off and mail-in services from pharmacies and medical waste companies. You can also check to see if Medical Waste Pros has a program for recycling old pill bottles in your community.

Do you have any ideas for ways to reuse plastic pill canisters?

About the Author
Jennifer Graham Kizer

Jennifer has written features and essays for over a dozen magazines, including American Baby, Cosmo, Cosmo Girl, Fit Pregnancy, Good Housekeeping, Health, Marie Claire, Parents, Parenting, Redbook, Self, Teen People, TV Guide, and YM. More.