Plastic Bottles | Uses That Can Save Your Life

Feature | Plastic Bottles | Uses That Can Save Your Life

Find out why plastic bottles are some of the most versatile resources you can have in a survival scenario.

Turning Plastic Bottles into a Survival Tool

Re-Purposing Empty Plastic Bottles for Better Use

Re-Purposing Empty Plastic Bottles for Better Use | Plastic Bottles | Uses That Can Save Your Life

When you find yourself in a survival scenario, it may seem as if you are all alone. However, you often have more resources at hand than you realize. Other than the abundance of natural resources all around you, there is another option to consider. On shorelines, you can find an abundance of plastic bottles. This may be a sad issue of plastic bottles pollution, but it is a win for survival.

I have been on dozens of survival challenges and have yet to complete one without finding at least one plastic bottle. In this article, we will cover ways you can use these plastic bottles to survive in the wilderness.

1. Contain/Purify Water

Contain/Purify Water | Plastic Bottles | Uses That Can Save Your Life

One of your biggest priorities in a survival scenario is water. You can only survive three days without water, and if it is not purified, you can end up with nasty waterborne illnesses. Of course, bottles help you carry and store water at your shelter. In addition, they can help you purify water.

If you put water in clear plastic bottles and set it in the sun for at least six hours, it will kill most of the harmful bacteria and parasites. You can also add sand, rocks, and charcoal to a bottle to create a filter. This will eliminate debris and draw out contaminants.

2. Start a Fire

Start a Fire | Plastic Bottles | Uses That Can Save Your Life

Clear plastic water bottles can actually be used to start a fire. Fill the bottle with water and gather some fine and dry tinder. You will need a sunny day and clear water. Use the light from the sun to position the bottle in a way that focuses light on a small point. Move that point onto your tinder, and hold it there until it starts smoking consistently. Then pick up your tinder bundle and blow gently on the ember to coax it into a flame.

RELATED: How to Make Rope from Recycled Plastic

3. Make Cordage

One of the hardest materials to replicate in nature is cordage. You can find it or make it, but often it is not as strong or flexible as you need. Cut off the bottom of a bottle and start trimming a thin strip from the remaining bottle. Keep trimming this thread until the bottle is gone. This should give you several feet of cordage.

4. Trap Fish

Food is a major priority in a survival scenario. Fish are a great source of calories and protein. If you cut the top off of a plastic bottle just below the taper, you can flip it over and insert it back into the base. After this, you can punch holes through both pieces and use cordage to attach them.

Put some stones inside along with some bait, and then sink it to the bottom of a water source. You can make the opening larger if you are targeting larger fish. They will swim into the trap and not be able to find their way back out. A simple yet effective DIY plastic bottle fish trap!

5. Make a Lantern

Often people have a flashlight for lighting a specific spot, but they are unable to light an entire room and keep their hands free. A lantern accomplishes exactly that. Fill a plastic bottle with water and turn on your flashlight. Press the lens against the bottle, and then tape it to the side. The light should refract against the water and light the whole room.

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Here is a video by Crazy Experimenter on 56 brilliant ways to reuse plastic bottles:

It's sad that we've come to a point where tons and tons of destructive plastic are disposed every day. It's alarming that a large percentage of the garbage we produce consists of plastic bottles. These simple recycling methods won't solve our greater problem of plastic management, but it's helping out in our own little way.

Do you have other survival ideas for plastic bottles? Please let us know in the comments section below!

Up Next: Ultimate Survival Tips: 9 Uses for an Empty Pill Bottle

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Placard | Plastic Bottles | Uses That Can Save Your Life

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 22, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

Placard | Plastic Bottles Uses That Can Save Your Life

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Jul 13, 2020, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

7 Responses to :
Plastic Bottles | Uses That Can Save Your Life

  1. You can also use them to prevent a survival situation. A sailboat I once owned was old enough that its built-in flotation wasn’t quite enough. To improve matters, I took empty one-liter pop bottles, taped up the cap, and taped them together. Them I placed them in the empty space under the cockpit.

    That would not work long-term, but it might keep my boat afloat long enough to summon help. This was Puget Sound and Lake Washington, where the water can be very cold. You don’t want to end up in it for very long.

  2. Tim says:

    I live in hurricane/nor’easter country. About every other year, a storm comes and panic hits. You’d think people would learn. When the storm’s path firms up, everyone flocks to the store for water and food and then to the gas station for fuel.
    Me? I take a nap. Then I walk out to the garage and pick up a couple copy paper boxes of empty plastic bottles and bring them into the kitchen and fill them at the kitchen sink. I don’t have to worry about huge, heavy collections of stored water, I don’t have to worry about expiration dates. Our tap water is fine and my collection of gallon, 1-liter and 2-liter empty bottles suffices to our needs. I have about 15 gallons worth of empties, which would cover bugging out or the risk that the water system might be down for a few days. The smaller bottles get filled and stored in the freezer and fridge, to serve as backup cooling if the power goes down. The big bottles go on the counter or workbench, until the storm has passed, then they water the plants and go back (empty) in their boxes on the top shelf. If the problems extend, tarps, rain collection buckets, bleach and Britta filters will work for quite a while.
    As for fuel, we rarely let the cars get below half a tank – that’s enough to go 150-200 miles — and 200 miles from the coast, we’re likely to find a gas station open. As for food, we have a “Harry Potter Closet”, i.e. a cupboard under the stairs, with shelving holding things like the crock pots nd waffle irons and muffin tins, as well as our pantry supplies of mashed potatoes, packaged rice dishes, baking supplies and 10-12 Mountain House pouches.
    All that is good for a couple weeks of bugging in. If a CAT III or IV is coming, throw a couple rubbermaid totes in the back of the vehicle with the camping gear, a mess of dry and canned foods, some medical gear, and go.

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