Introduction: 68 Ways to Reuse Old Prescription Medicine Bottles

Let's hear it for better living through pharmaceuticals. Prescriptions, I mean. There are drugs for lowering your blood pressure, lowering your cholesterol, reducing inflammation, blocking betas and curing that nasty rash you got last summer. When you find yourself on "maintenance" medications, however, such as blood pressure medicine or asthma medications, you could be looking at getting a periodic regular influx of prescription bottles.

These little bottles have some interesting properties, are quite useful for what they do, and obviously, cost something to make and, being made of plastic, have an impact on the environment. They certainly don't do anyone any good filling up the landfills.

This question has been asked many a time... even on the Q&A section of Instructables, as it turns out.

My goal is to provide a fairly comprehensive answer to "What can I do with all these $%#&! prescription bottles?"

Step 1: Reduce...

Before we look at what should be done with all those little pill bottles, I stopped to ask myself... why so many pill bottles? I found that there were ways I could reduce the number of pill bottles I was getting to begin with.

A) Getting Fewer Prescriptions:
Your medical situation is your own and is between you and your doctor/insurance company/shaman or whatnot, but, personally, I have found that some prescription medications may merely be masking other dangerous conditions. I was taking prescription medication to prevent acid reflux, but my doctor realized that I was actually suffering from sleep apnea, which was causing the acid reflux. Once I started using a C-PAP machine, I no longer had bouts of acid reflux. As another benefit, I'm much less likely to die of a heart attack or simply die in my sleep. Hey, what a bonus!

B) Get Fewer Prescription Bottles:
If you have a maintenance prescription for an ongoing health issue, such as asthma, acid reflux or blood pressure, talk with your doctor, insurance company and pharmacy about the possibility of 90-day (three-month) prescriptions. Not only will this cut down on the rate that the prescription bottles pile up, it could potentially save you some fuel costs in trips to the pharmacy or reduce them altogether if the prescriptions are shipped directly to you. Also, depending on the prescription, you may end up with one larger bottle (possibly better for storage) instead of three smaller bottles.

If you use a smaller local pharmacy, talk with your pharmacist; they may let you bring your prescription bottles back to the pharmacy and actually refill them when you refill your prescription.[9] This saves them money and reduces the number of bottles you have to deal with.

Step 2: Recycle...

I know, I know... it's typically Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, in that order. However, since most of this Instructable will be focusing on ways to ReUSE your prescription bottles, I wanted to get the other two options out of the way. And besides, I'm including anything that involves the bottles being reused by someone else as "recycling" since, from your standpoint, it is; you're neither lowering the number of bottles you're getting nor using them again (personally), so giving your bottles to someone else for them to use is a form of recycling.

  • Some curbside recycling programs may accept prescription bottles, although many don't. If yours does, this could be the simplest solution. Most prescription bottles are made of #5 plastic (PolyPropolene or "PP"), but there should be an indication of the type of plastic printed on the bottom of the bottle.
  • Some local organizations may reuse medication bottles. Check with local animal shelters, veterinarians, free clinics and homeless shelters.[6]
  • A company called Preserve recycles all #5 plastics and has drop-off centers in Whole Foods locations nationwide. Don't have one near you? You can even mail your #5 plastics to Preserve for recycling.
  • Many charitable organizations will take old prescription bottles and use them for prescriptions for the less fortunate or even undeveloped countries. User calichigal shared an article on The Malawi Project, a charity that accepts prescription bottles for reuse in Malawi, Africa.

Step 3: Preparing the Bottles

Removing the Labels:
If you're going to reuse the prescription bottle, you're probably going to want to remove the label first. If you're going to send the bottle away from your house by recycling, giving it away, or even just throwing it in the garbage, removing (and destroying) the label is of paramount importance!

Looking around the Internet a bit will show you just how dangerous the information on those pill bottles can be. You don't want others to be familiar with your medical history, but it's also not that difficult for someone with one of your pill bottles to refill and pickup one of your prescriptions, illegally.[5] For that matter, they could do so on your insurance. Not a good scenario.

So, we want to remove the labels. And then shred them, if possible. (That's what I do, anyway.)

  • Simply Remove the Label...
    The first thing to try is working the corner of the label up with your fingernail or a butter knife. Just get the edge to peel back a little bit. From there, I can often peel an entire label off without leaving residue. With practice, this works for me about three-quarters of the time. Sometimes the label peels off, but a little bit of residue remains. This can be soaked off with soap and water or rubbed off with your thumb. This method seems to have the highest rate of success on bottles that are not very old and that haven't gotten wet (even from humid conditions). If the label appears weathered, this method isn't going to work.
  • Do it the hard way...
    Soak the labels, scrape the label off and use rubber erasers to remove the glue.[4] This article mentions adhesive removers, as well, but a bit of perseverance should avoid the need to use such harsh chemicals.

Cleaning the Bottles:
Before re-using, the bottles must be thoroughly cleaned. Actually, this should be done before recycling, as well.

Any old medicines should be discarded properly by taking them to the nearest pharmacy that has a medicine disposal program. (Please don't flush them down the toilet or throw them in the garbage.) Then, clean your prescription bottles and caps thoroughly using soap and hot water. Once dry, your bottles are ready for use.

Step 4: The Useful Properties of a Prescription Bottle

Let's Examine the Prescription Bottle...
In order to find good uses for prescription bottles, consider the various properties of prescription bottles:

  • Small - Most prescription bottles are small, although various sizes are available, including some the size of a standard flashlight.
  • Standardized - There are a few different sizes, but beyond that, they are generally identical, especially from the same source. Caps are interchangeable between bottles of the same size and even between bottles of the same diameter, but different heights..
  • Lids - Most prescription bottles have lids that feature a child-safety lock. Some even are reversible, with a non-locking side and a locking side.
  • Air- and Water-Tight - These bottles are designed to prevent moisture from destroying the medicines inside. This makes the bottles useful for keeping water out of anything you want to store in them.
  • Structural Strength - Prescription bottles are designed to be resilient, so they don't get crushed and drop pills where children or animals could get to them.
  • Translucent - The bottles are generally see-through, allowing you to see the pills inside.
  • Tinted - While usually clear enough to see through, prescription bottles are generally tinted to reduce the amount of light that gets to the pills, to prevent them from being damaged by the light. This may come in handy in some cases, but there are also a few different colors that can be found. I've mostly encountered an orange-ish amber color, but I've also seen some blue bottles and some pink lids.
  • Cuttable - Lids are generally made of more flexible plastic, while the bottles, themselves, are a bit more brittle, but either can be cut or drilled, if care is taken.
  • That Sound - Think about any time you ever picked up a pill bottle. Moving the bottle causes the pills inside to shift around, creating a sound as the pills collide against each other and the side of the bottle.

Think about these for a bit. What ideas do these properties suggest to you? We will be using these properties in a variety of ways in the next steps...

Step 5: Storage (Toys)

TOY STORAGE:
Re-purposed prescription bottles are awesome for storing small things. The kinds of things you don't want to end up on the floor and underfoot. Things such as:

(1) LEGOs - Separate them by brick type. Separate them by color. Or... both, if you have that many. I use them for my LEGO Mindstorms NXT pieces.

(2) Barbie Clothes - High heels[6] spring to mind as things I don't want to step on, but other accessories work well here, too.

(3) Action Figure Accessories - G.I. Joe, Star Wars and McFarlane toys may be radically different, but one thing they share in common is they have weapons. Little plastic projectiles, handguns and whatnot... all perfectly sized for being eaten by the vacuum cleaner. Unless they're stored in a locking tactical armory (a.k.a. prescription bottle) - decorate with emblems from the correct side (be it a Rebel Alliance symbol or a Cobra symbol) and they're twice as likely to get filled with the weapons, generally when one side confiscates the other side's weapons right after capturing them.

(4) Jacks - You know, the little metal or plastic things that are designed so that no matter how they land, there's always three sharp ouchy parts sticking up, waiting for an unsuspecting foot and a bouncy ball that serves to distract a child to go run off doing something else and forgetting all about the aforementioned sharp ouchy things? Store the lot of them in an appropriately-sized prescription bottle.

(5) Play-Doh - Sure, the canisters Play-Doh comes in are supposed to keep the air out, but the lids end up not getting sealed properly and then the air has its way. Use prescription bottles to keep air at bay.

(6) Finger Paint - Looking for a water-proof canister to keep your child's paints off of everything when not in use? Ta-daa!

(7) Slime - You know (and loathe) the stuff. Looks like mucus, but costs money. Kids adore it for its gross factor. Keep it good (bad?) longer by keeping air out of it.

(8) Gak - Similar to Slime (above), but thicker, and yet, just as gross.

(9) Silly Putty - Okay, this one's old-school, but if you can find some, your prescription bottle will keep it longer than that stupid egg thing.

(10) Bubble Solution - Going to the park or on vacation? Make some bubble solution and store in a prescription bottle, for some old-school fun. Bubbles can be especially enthralling in a location that features some above average winds and room for your child to chase the bubbles.

(11) Crayons - Especially those little stubby pieces of a favorite color that's hard to find. Keep them bottled up so they're not ground into the carpet.

(12) Travel Games - There are a lot of travel games out there made of cheap plastic with little plastic pieces. Lose a piece and, well... it's not really much of a game anymore. Use a prescription bottle to keep all those little pieces in place.

(13) Window Clings - Those little flat plastic cutout pieces that stick to glass surfaces? Yeah, those can be a pain to store. I stick them to the inside of a prescription bottle (and then on top of others inside the bottle... or just wrap them around the inside of the bottle) so they're available later. This is especially good for seasonal ones, such as Christmas aquarium clings.

Step 6: Storage (Office)

OFFICE:
There are things that you will find yourself needing in the average work day. There are also things that you need much more rarely, but just as desperately. Some of these fit perfectly into prescription bottles.

(14) Paper Clips - Whether you use the standard bent metal wire types or the small binder clips, you can keep a bunch of them tidily in a prescription bottle. If you use both, you can use two identical bottles sharing a single cap to keep both types quickly and easily accessible. Use the locking cap for whichever you use less frequently.

(15) Pushpins - Do you use thumbtacks and pushpins, but don't like them in the way when you're not using them? Toss them into a medicine bottle and keep them in a desk drawer.

(16) Medicines - I sometimes forget to take my morning dose of my maintenance medications. Additionally, there are the occasions that the weather or a particularly vexing project at work gives me a headache. That's why I keep a two-sided prescription bottle at work: the locking side for my emergency doses of my maintenance meds and the non-locking side holds some Tylenol, Aleve, Ibuprofen and a tablet or two of Sudafed.

(17) Coins - Some days, I need a little pick-me-up from the snack machine downstairs. That's when a prescription bottle full of coins is just what the doctor ordered.

(18) Sharpies - Well, mini-Sharpies. I keep three of these (red, green and blue) on hand in a prescription bottle to keep them together, keep track of them, and add an extra bit of confidence that they're not going to accidentally get opened and mark all over things.

Step 7: Storage (Hobbies & Gardening)

HOBBIES:
Whether you're into painting or jewelry making, racing remote-controlled cars or building electronic circuits... there are small, easy to lose parts that you won't want to lose.

(19) Paint - If you paint small, detailed things, you can purchase paint in larger sizes, then store them in several smaller prescription bottles to keep them from drying up quickly[6]. Put a dab of the color on the lid or the front of the bottle to quickly identify the color of the paint inside.[2]

(20) Beads - When beading, prescription bottles make excellent containers. You can keep all of the beads for a given necklace or bracelet in a single bottle, for example, or simply store one type of beads (or similar beads you plan to use interchangeably) in each prescription bottle.

(21) Electronics - Electronic hobbyists deal with a lot of little pieces, from LEDs and resistors to capacitors and small microchips. Group like items in a prescription bottle, or use one to hold the parts needed for a given project. Heck, throw in the schematic into the bottle (or on the label, if it's simple enough) and you can have a kit for building that circuit. This could be a great way to package a kit for others to build.

(22) Handyman - Anytime you start working on a project, you're likely to find that you need some small things, such as screws, nails, nuts, bolts, washers and the like. If you don't have many of these, use a prescription bottle or two to keep these items readily available. If you have a lot of them, group them into easily identifiable groups and have a prescription bottle for each group (screws, nuts and bolts, etc.)

(23) Electrical - Two things that you'll constantly need if you deal with electrical repairs are wire nuts and electrical tape. To build a useful bottle for electrical projects, take a roll of electrical tape and roll it off of its cardboard center into a flattened finger-like shape that can be stored in the prescription bottle, then throw in a variety of wire nuts, and you're set.

(24) Decor - There are specific hardware items used for hanging framed pictures: special hooks, screw eyes and wire. You can keep an assortment of these together in a picture-hanging kit stored in a prescription bottle.

(25) Under-shelf Storage - If you have a workbench or similarly utilitarian work area, prescription bottles can make a very practical storage area, by screwing their caps to the underside of a shelf. The bottles will hang beneath the shelf and you can simply unscrew them to access them and screw them back into place to stow them away. Keep a few extra lids and you can re-cap them to take them with you, if needed.

(26) Sport Ammo - Got BBs or air-gun pellets to store?[2] A prescription bottle works great. A large prescription bottle could even be used for paintballs.

(27) Assembling - Whether you're putting together an IKEA cabinet or taking apart a computer, repairing it and putting it back together, you're bound to end up with extra parts. Use one prescription bottle labeled with the specific job to hold these parts so you don't lose them. After everything's been together for a while with no problems, any leftover pieces could be moved to a separate prescription bottle simply labeled "MISC"...

(28) Glitter - By poking some holes in the lid of a prescription bottle, you can make a shaker for shaking out glitter.[8] Keep an extra lid and you can use one for shaking and one for storing.

GARDENING:
(29) Seeds - If you need to store seeds for later use, keep them in a prescription bottle and label them. Seeds that need refrigeration can easily be stored in the fridge this way, as well.[6]

Step 8: Storage (On-The-Go)

On-The-Go:
Okay, if there's one time that these little plastic wonders really shine, it's when you're on-the-go. Any time you want a little bit of something contained, easy to find, easy to grab and carry, and you want to keep it dry (or for that matter, want to keep it wet), prescription bottles fit the bill.

(30) First Aid Kit - Simply traveling around town you might find a need for Band-Aids, alcohol wipes, small containers of Triple Antibiotic, cotton balls, Q-tips and the like. However, if you go hiking or canoeing and the like, then having these items in a water-proof, floating container can be a real life-saver.

(31) Bobby Pins - These wonders of hair styling have been around forever, but any given bobby pin could leave at any given time. Make sure you have some in reserve.

(32) Safety Pins - Whether it's for closing cloth diapers or temporarily fixing an unexpected wardrobe malfunction, safety pins can help hold your life together when you really need it. They come in a variety of sizes, but most fit quite comfortably in a standard prescription bottle.

(33) Duct Tape - No, a roll of duct tape can't possibly fit inside of such a small bottle, right? No, not with that large cardboard roll in the center, but, as you will notice, the sticky side of duct tape is not difficult to remove from the non-sticky side of duct tape... that's how you unspool it in the first place. So, take a small dowel (or piece of a broken pencil) and carefully start rolling some tape off of the roll and onto your dowel to make a much smaller spool. Now, you just need a prescription bottle that's tall enough that you can put the lid on it with the dowel inside and you need to make sure that you stop adding duct tape before it's too thick around to fit in the bottle. -OR- If you don't care about maintaining the small size of the bottle or keeping your duct tape dry, you can use the bottle itself as the new spool, and carefully wrap your duct tape around the outside of the bottle. You'll end up with a smaller roll of duct tape with a nifty storage container at its center, perfect for a mini-Sharpie for labeling what you pack.

(34) Toll Container - You know where you have to go and what sort of tolls you'll encounter. Keep a prescription bottle filled with the appropriate amount of coins or bills and you're set. Keep it in the glove box or the side pocket so a thief doesn't break into your car for the money - or thinking that it's prescription medicine.

(35) Sewing Kit - I've bought many a sewing kit in my life. I am not sure why they always seem to come in little rectangular plastic boxes that break upon purchase, but that's been my experience. In the right size prescription bottle, three of those little spools of emergency thread fit side by side in a layer. I can fit nine spools of thread along with a couple of needles in that stupid piece of foam in a single prescription bottle. If you're planning a business trip, reduce your spool selection to the colors you might need and you'll have room for a few emergency buttons, as well.

(36) Plastic Bags - Gloria Campos on About My Planet had this awesome one. You can neatly store a few plastic sandwich bags or even compressed grocery bags in a prescription bottle, so when you find you need one... you have one.[6]

(37) Paracord - there is a very strong cord known as paracord. Further, there are some really cool survival bracelets made of paracord. The idea is that, when an emergency occurs and you need a nice length of strong cord, you unravel the bracelet and use it to save a life or whatnot. Well, if you can't get it back into its bracelet form, simply roll it up into a prescription bottle and you'll have it ready for your next emergency.

(38) Ear Buds - Keep your earbuds in a prescription bottle to prevent the cord from getting tangled and snagged on things.[8]

(39) Travel Jewelry Box - When you stay in a hotel, where do you put your earrings and rings at night? My wife and I would often simply select a certain spot on the hotel furniture, but we received a few scares when one of us moved either the jewelry or something that ended up hiding the jewelry. For more peace of mind, carry along a prescription bottle with a spongy foam insert that is roughly finger shaped. compress the sponge to put your ring onto the foam and pinch the foam to push your earrings into it for safekeeping.

(40) Wet Napkins - Whether it be Wet Naps, Wet Wipes or personal cleansing towels, they need to stay wet, but you don't want them to wet everything else that you carry in your bag or purse. Take a few and wrap them around your finger, then insert them into a prescription bottle and you're ready to go. You can carry them in your backpack, purse, or even your pocket.

(41) Flushable Wipes - When you need these, you need them. These are much like Wet Napkins, above, but for dirtier jobs that you would want to flush, rather than throwing in the garbage. Keep a few in a medicine bottle to keep them ready for use and slip the bottle in your pocket before you head into the rest room.

(42) Dry Feet - Going canoeing? Swimming? To work and it's raining heavily? Getting your feet wet in the morning can put a damper on your whole day. Shoes generally will dry out much quicker and easier than socks. If only there were a way to bring a second pair of socks with you and keep them dry until you need them. (There is.) This will require larger bottles, thinner socks or, perhaps, both.

(43) Emergency Fishing Gear - Fill a prescription bottle with a couple of hooks, a weight or two, a length of fishing line and a button. When you want to use the gear, find a suitable pole (actually, the pole is optional), thread the button on the fishing line, push the button into the prescription bottle and put the cap on the bottle with the button inside and the fishing line threaded into the bottle and back out, under the cap. You can use the bottle as a float to keep your hook at the desired depth. At the end of the day, clean your gear and stow it back in the bottle.

Step 9: Storage (Food)

FOOD:
Okay, this section's a bit controversial, and for a few good reasons. One is concern over whether the prescription bottles are actually cleaned well enough. You don't want food that has even traces of prescription medication in it. Jill Nystul of One Good Thing suggests using inexpensive baggies to line the inside of prescription bottles before using for food[3], which sounds like a great idea, if you worry that you haven't removed all traces of medication. A second valid consideration is the message that food or candy in prescription bottles might convey to a child. Prescription medications aren't candy and giving a child a prescription bottle filled with mints or M&M's could cause confusion.

(44) Candy Containers - If you have a party with a Medical theme, such as a Halloween party or a medical school graduation party, why not clean out several prescription bottles, fill them with small round candies, such as Reese's' Pieces, Skittles or M&Ms, make amusing labels for the bottles and give them to party-goers as party favors? (Not necessarily a good idea for children. See above.)

(45) Sauce Packets - You know those little packets of sauce that makes (or breaks) your favorite fast food meal? Whether it be ketchup, mustard or Señor Fuego's Illegal Hot Sauce, these little packets can add amazing flavor to your meal or undesired color to your car's upholstery or every single thing in your purse. Tuck some in a medicine bottle to keep them from getting squished and opening before you want them to.

(46) Hot Sauce - Hot sauce doesn't need to be refrigerated (thanks to the vinegar), but isn't nearly as widely available in restaurants as other condiments. For that matter, the more popularly available Tabasco, Texas Pete or Louisiana Hot Sauce won't satisfy you if you're in the mood for the milder, fruitier bouquet of Georgia Peach and Vidalia Onion Hot Sauce (my fave), for example. Take some with you in a small prescription bottle, so you can add your own personal flair to that po-boy.

(47) Condiments - As with the hot sauce above, your desired condiments won't always be available in packets (or otherwise) at certain restaurants. Perhaps you want a hot dog, but you prefer a different type of mustard than what they serve where you're going... or perhaps you're a die-hard Heinz fan and they serve something they call "catsup" (Yeah, I don't know, either)... bring your own faves with you and "fix" that meal.

(48) Salad Dressing - Whether your salad dressing is dictated by a special diet or your preference simply isn't widely available, a prescription bottle's water-proofness makes it a convenient container for carrying your favorite dressing with you.

(49) Salad Toppings - Dressing isn't the only thing that can make a salad scrumptious; fill a bottle with almond slivers, crushed walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chow mein noodles or other dry seasonings. As long as it doesn't have to be refrigerated, you should be good. If it does require refrigeration, you still might be good if you're packing up and heading to a restaurant directly. Use your best judgement, here.

(50) Mini Ice Packs - Taking frozen food on a trip or just trying to keep drinks cool? Fill prescription bottles most of the way with water, then put them in your freezer to make small ice packs to help you keep your cool.[3]

Step 10: Storage (Medical and Bath & Beauty)

MEDICAL:
It's important to keep medical items in certain conditions for them to be useful. If a bandage isn't sterile, you don't want to use it on a scrape; you could actually make things worse by introducing germs into the wound site. Also, the dark coloring of most prescription bottles helps to slow the effects of light on whatever you keep inside.

(51) Wrist / Leg Wrap - Taking a trip where you plan to be physically active? Might be nice to have a compression wrap with you. Use a prescription bottle to keep one close at hand.

(52) Examination Gloves - Be careful to keep things clean when you pack gloves into the bottles, then you'll have clean gloves in an emergency.

(53) Sharps Disposal - Need a place to safely collect used needles or blood sugar lancets? How about a container with a childproof cap? Whether you fill it and then dispose of it with the bottle or empty the bottle and reuse it is up to you.

(54) Adhesive Bandages - Band-Aids, Curad strips, whatever you use, keep them collected and dry until they're needed by storing them in a prescription bottle.

BATH & BEAUTY:
This is a good candidate category for two reasons: 1) a lot of beauty tools are small, such as lipsticks, fingernail polishes, etc., making them perfect for collecting and storing this way and 2) certain things are needed in emergencies, for which these little pill bottles are great.

(55) Eyeshadow Applicators - Keep your makeup applicators clean by storing them in a prescription bottle.[8]

(56) Cotton Swabs - Some common prescription bottles are an excellent size for storing cotton swabs.

(57) Nail Care Kit - Sure, you could just keep one in your purse, floating around with your iPhone and wallet, but on the outside chance that you don't want them all scuffed up, you could keep a small emery board in a prescription bottle. While you're at it, toss in a small bottle of clear coat, a small bottle of superglue (if you use it), a pair of clippers and a couple of short orange sticks. Now you're ready for any nail emergency.

(58) Spontaneous Kit - Who says you can't plan spontaneity? Gather up a seductive deep red lipstick and nail polish and sample sizes of whatever else might be needed, throw in some fake lashes, if desired, and you've got a prescription for a spontaneous night on the town... whenever you happen to want one.

(59) Perfume Refresher - Jill Nystul of One Good Thing suggests soaking cotton balls in a fragrance and popping them into a prescription bottle to use as a "booster" half way through the day[3].

Step 11: Getting Fancy

Storage Upgrades:
There are several ways to customize or upgrade your containers from simple lidded containers to something more...

  • Label them
  • Paint them
  • Screw the tops to the bottom of a shelf for a series of hanging containers
  • Connect two bottles to one top for more storage with two compartments
  • Use them as a basis for a Batman-esque Utility belt
  • Glue a magnet to the inside (or outside) of the lid to hang it from metal surfaces

Step 12: Making Things

Prescription bottles are resilient, standardized, lockable and, in some cases, can have two containers connected to one top (either side) without modification. They also fit nicely in the hand, being on average around the size of a handlebar grip or tool handle.

TOY IDEAS:

(60) Checkers - Use just the tops of 24 prescription bottles, paint them or use black and red Sharpies to color them and make your own 8x8-square checkerboard. Not just a game, but an activity you can perform with your children to encourage their creativity... and thriftiness.[7]

(61) Rattle / Rhythm Shakers - Fill a prescription bottle with something small that makes sounds when you shake it. This can be anything from sand to beans to screws or coins. Each will have their own unique sound. Use them to provide a bit of rhythm to accompany your music, whether you're alone in your room, with friends around a campfire, in the studio recording a new album, or just chilling in your crib...

ELECTRONICS PROJECT:

(62) Project Housing - If you're making a small project, why not build it inside of a prescription bottle? Build your battery compartment so it's accessible from the top and you just remove the lid to change the battery. Need blinking lights in the design? You don't even have to drill a hole - just let it shine through the plastic of the bottle. Use a tilt switch so you just turn the bottle upside down to turn it on and put it back right-side up to turn it off and it can stay water-tight. Or, drill holes in it to mount LEDs, switches or whatnot and you can see the wires and circuits inside the bottle - great for inspiring children to take an interest in electronics. The way I see it, pretty much anything that can be built in a Altoids tin can be built in a prescription bottle.

BATH & BODY:

(63) Bathtub Stopper - When my rubber bathtub stopper disappeared for a bit (someone else moved it, I swear) and I needed to make it possible for guests to be able to take a bath (I always shower, so, eh), I found a prescription bottle that fit the drain perfectly, added some bath salts to help weigh it down, and simply told my guests to put it in the drain when they start to draw their bath. It worked like a charm, and the bath salts stayed completely dry.

KITCHEN:

(64) Chip Bag Clip - Got a bag of chips you want to keep fresh? Fold the top of the bag in thirds from the side, then fold the top down a few inches. Now, take a clean prescription bottle and push the flat part of the top of the bag over the bottle and press the cap down over the bag and the bottle below. Carefully increase the pressure and twist the cap until you feel it click locked. The cap should thread and seal even with the layers of the plastic bag in between the top and the bottle and this will keep the top fold shut, keeping air out of the bag of chips and keeping them fresh longer. Does it look attractive? No, but since we usually only have chips in the house during the holidays when people come over, it doesn't make sense for us to keep chip clips in the house. And this works. Very well.

(65) Salt or Pepper Shaker - While it may not match many decors, a prescription bottle can be used as a refillable shaker for salt or pepper by poking holes in the lids.

PETS:

(66) Aquarium - Saltwater aquariums need salt. To save money, I buy aquarium salt in 5 gallon buckets, but in the time it takes to use that much salt, it would harden due to moisture, leaving a large hard rock of salt that I couldn't use. I remedied this situation by making lots of holes in the sides of a prescription bottle and filling it with the little thimble-sized canisters of silica gel that came in my medicine bottles to keep my medicine dry. This, essentially, became a huge silica gel canister. I keep it in my 5 gallon container of salt and haven't had problems with moisture since, even though I store the salt in my bathroom and sometimes dip out salt while my hands are wet.

(67) Cat Toy - Remember I mentioned that sound that pill bottles make? Put that to use to make an interesting toy for a cat; simply put a few dry beans or jingle bells (if your cat needs extra stimulation) and put the lid back on to give your cat something to be curious about.[8]

(68) Reptile Food to Go - Taking your pet lizard on a trip? Use a large prescription bottle with a few holes in it to carry a picnic lunch of crickets for your cold-blooded friend.

Step 13: References

Comments

author
grannyjones (author)2017-03-26

The vials that once contained glucose test strips are also useful, but not for contact with consumables, due to the special lining of the vials. Flip caps never get lost.

author
jrfrank (author)2016-03-27

Some labels can be removed more easily by heating with a hair dryer and peeling them off.

author
doo da do (author)jrfrank2017-02-01

I use a small wire brush, with my drill, something different

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Dr Frugal (author)2016-03-24

As for an "environmental impact" of a pill they can indeed have an effect on the environment but it's usually not a prescribed medication that'll be harmful to the enviroment it's the ones you'd think less likely to have an impact on our lands & waterways.. Multivitamins are the meds that can cause damage & should desposed of properly due to the high rates of potassium, zinc, chromium, copper & manganese among other ingredients that will have an adverse affect on the environment..
I'm a land application of biosolids & wastewater operator with 15 yrs experience

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Frank Mosher (author)Dr Frugal2016-03-30

I just reread your initial posting, again, where you claim absolutely, that multi-vitamin residue from empty bottles, is a far greater threat to wastewater than Rx residues from Rx bottles. This is simply hog wash. (Whoops, another bio-solid) The amount of heavy metals in multi-vitamin bottles is miniscule, compared to what is contained in treated tap water, i.e chlorine, fluoride, and zinc in particular if you live near Flint, Mi. Then there is radium naturally occurring in water, and zink, iron, sulphur, cadmium and on and on. To single out multi-vitamin container residue as the greatest source of bio-solid land contamination, is just too silly to discuss.

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doo da do (author)Frank Mosher2017-02-01

Next time you eat out ask the waitress for a glass of chemicals, watch her reaction. Doodado

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Dr Frugal (author)Frank Mosher2016-04-04

Where does it say anywhere in the scientifically FACT riddled post that I was speaking of the "residuals" from a multi-vitamin bottle? In case you do not know the meaning of the word "res·i·due- a small amount of something that remains after the main part has gone or been taken or used." I was speaking of a bottle of multi-vitamins being discarded not empty bottles being rinsed of any RESIDUALS that may be left behind.. Also I NEVER said that multi-vitamins, being just residuals or a whole bottle being discarded were the greatest source of contamination.. One of the biggest contamination sources to our lands & waterways come from uninformed people like yourself sir who don't take the time to obtain the knowledge on a subject before they go spewing their ill-informed propaganda on a site to where they've brought NOTHING to the table except the ability to pursue an argument knowing they have zero chance of winning..

I think I will work on an Instructable to fix stupid but as the old adage goes Ya can't fix stupid..

Drops Mic.. Exists stage.. 

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Frank Mosher (author)Dr Frugal2016-04-04

Dr. Frugal, this is a literal quote from you:

"As for an "environmental impact" of a pill they can indeed have an effect on the environment but it's usually not a prescribed medication that'll be harmful to the enviroment it's the ones you'd think less likely to have an impact on our lands & waterways.. Multivitamins are the meds that can cause damage & should desposed of properly due to the high rates of potassium, zinc, chromium, copper & manganese among other ingredients that will have an adverse affect on the environment.." Couple of misspellings there, but I won't be so petty! Per chance, have you been imbibing some of your effluent from one of your holding ponds?

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Dr Frugal (author)Frank Mosher2016-04-05

I totally understand now & I'm sorry I didn't realize sooner.. To make things easier I've added a photo you REALLY should use as your Avatar so others won't spend as much time trying to explain something to you..

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ksexton1 (author)Dr Frugal2016-04-25

Antibiotics in particular have been detected in many rivers and streams, and in the fish that live there. Also Estrogen and the related hormones used in birth control pills. As far as multivitamins in landfills, the zinc, chromium, copper, manganese from one small electronic appliance may be equal to thousands of full bottles of multivitamins.

First thing is, don't flush any pills, just about anywhere has household hazardous waste disposal options, which should specifically handle meds, pesticides, paint, used oil, batteries, etc. If you can't find it, keep looking, they are usually handled by the county or city.

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Wow. I never would have imagined. So how problematic are the multivitamins that don't get absorbed by the body and end up in the sewers? I would imagine that would be problematic.

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A majority of the pill is absorbed into the body so anything that remains doesn't have the "footprint" that an entire bottle of multivitamins would have on the environment.. This also has more to do with the soil if the wastewater and/or biosolids (two different processes) are land applied i.e. Spray irrigation or land app of biosolids aka sludge Dont quote me here because I may be just a few years off but there is enough zinc in a bottle of multivitamins to ruin an acre+ of land for I wanna say it's anywhere from twenty yrs to hundreds of yrs..! The processing of wastewater is a truly fascinating thing to see.. When I bring friends to one of my plants they are blown away by the before and after.. The effluent is as clear as a glass of water.. Wastewater gets a bad rap because it's called point pollution pretty much meaning you can point at it as a source but the real fly in the ointment is called non-point pollution which means you can't point a finger at it & get an accurate reading of what's being dumped into our waterways it is the worst of the worst its runoff from agriculture, any kind of chemical based fertilizer & automobiles plus all the other junk the public usually unknowingly pours into storm drains which eventually ends up in a river somewhere & all those different nitrogens, nitrites/ nitrates, NH3, phosphorous are food for algae blooms which rob dissolved oxygen from the water & end up being the cause of most fish kills..
Sorry for the LOOOOONG response but it's something that I'd say 8 out 10 people have no clue of the damage they themselves are doing to the enviroment.. Watch a documentary called Chasing Ice
FACT: when a new wastewater plant opened back in the day it was customary for the mayor to drink a wineglass full of the new plants effluent to show the town that it was safe to put in the river..

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Frank Mosher (author)Dr Frugal2016-03-26

I can't believe what you just wrote on this blog! Multivitamins and heavy metals, with all due respect, "you know not of you speak"! There have been a couple of studies reported already, of fish contamination with RX drugs being flushed down the toilet, not the pity amount of heavy metals in multivitamins! There are more heavy metals in the water, than in a multivitamin!

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Dr Frugal (author)Frank Mosher2016-04-04

The pity amount? Lol so are you feeling sorry for the multi-vitamins? I believe the word you didn't know how to spell is like most of your comments petty

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Dr Frugal (author)Frank Mosher2016-03-29

I never said it was alright to flush multivitamins or ANY type of prescription pills & I do indeed know what I speak of sir & if you would've taken the time to thoroughly read what I'd wrote you would see I was writing about the dangers of multivitamins being applied to land & furthermore a majority of pollutants in our waterways come from non-point pollution (Google it) & not from industries who ultimately get the blame do to the fact they are considered a point pollution.. Also just an FYI multivitamins aren't a prescription because you can buy them over the counter..

(If I am wrong don't blame me blame NCSU, the EPA & the NCDENR for they are the ones that taught the classes)

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HelenJ3 (author)2016-05-23

Become a Geocacher and hide a cache of your own. www.geocaching.com

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doo da do (author)HelenJ32017-02-01

did that for a while, it was fun doodado

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gregdavid1 (author)2016-03-25

Remember the old days when we all still had 35 mm film canisters to put small change and parts in???? I still have and use lots of them. Anyone else????

I like to keep my small parts far more organized than can be achieved w/ pill bottles. I'm a huge fan of divided parts boxes similar to the ones used for fishing tackle. I can fit 1000's of various fasteners of all sizes, standards & types 100% organized in a very small space. If I were to try that with pill bottles, it would take 4-5 times more space and be infinitely less organized.

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doo da do (author)gregdavid12017-02-01

if you travel, you can put quarters for a toll, q tips, tooth picks, Cotten balls,

Safey pins ect. Hope you like these doodado

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mrsmerwin (author)gregdavid12017-01-30

My dad skipped the washing of the film canister step. Over time, they developed this nasty white film. I don't know how dangerous it might have been. Be careful.

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MarcieD (author)gregdavid12017-01-04

I love my film canisters. I only have 4 left but I use them a lot....

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Mark 42 (author)gregdavid12016-03-26

Remember the aluminum 35mm film containers? They were thin & lightweight with crew caps.

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Mark 42 (author)Mark 422016-03-26

*screw caps

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grannyjones (author)2016-03-24

Leftover drugs can be mixed with used kitty litter or something equally gross, then sent to landfill.

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hippiechk (author)grannyjones2016-03-24

No!! Return unused medication to the pharmacy for incineration. Honestly, thousands of medications laying around the landfill?

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mooster (author)hippiechk2016-03-24

Don't know about where you live, but here in Texas they wouldn't take them when I asked.

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doo da do (author)mooster2016-03-25

In NC we take them to the police station, put in drop box.

How ironic is that? But they are not on the street.

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mrsmerwin (author)doo da do2017-01-30

I live in Michigan and in some places (northern Michigan) they have drop boxes. Here in the lower part of the state, I was told to take them to the police station.

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gregdavid1 (author)mooster2016-03-25

You had me at "in Texas..." }:-)

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bobwojo (author)hippiechk2016-03-26

I asked my pharmacy (cvs) and they told me to do just what grannyjones said. Landfills are sealed to prevent leakage into groundwater. It's a better option than flushing them and having the meds end up in rivers and our water supply.

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DIY Sara (author)bobwojo2016-09-11

No, your physician should take the unwanted medications.
Check with local law enforcement or the DEA.

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hippiechk (author)bobwojo2016-03-27

I live in Canada & even small towns take unused medications to ensure their proper destruction. That link isn't live on my phone but IDC what it says. Medications do not belong in a landfill!!

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mscott16 (author)hippiechk2016-04-07

This is what is recommended-I am a pharmacist and most pharmacies DO NOT take back unused medication for disposal. If they don't want to mix with kitty litter or coffee grounds I recommend to my patients that they check with their local police department or water treatment plant. They usually advertise a drug take-back day and incinerate the meds collected. This gets expired meds out of people's medicine cabinets and cuts down on children/teens taking them and experimenting with them. There are some exceptions so it's always good to check first.

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BonnieC13 (author)mscott162016-07-16

Hi, My local Walmart (in central Texas) carries pouches that you can put all the old meds in, seal it, and give it to them for destruction. I'm not sure, but I think they charge for this service.

Thanks,

Bonnie

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grannyjones (author)hippiechk2016-03-24

---that is what they used to TELL us to do.

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mscott16 (author)grannyjones2016-04-07

yes, this is correct

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rschantz83 (author)grannyjones2016-03-24

Yeah, well some people USED TO change their oil over storm drains too... Drugs shouldn't go to landfills...

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Exactly.

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bobwojo (author)hippiechk2016-03-27

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm101653.htm

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steinie44 made it! (author)2016-05-22

Stool Sample.

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MarcieD (author)steinie442017-01-04

how cute....lol

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bbkong (author)2016-04-27

I always drop a good multivitamin (Centrum Silver) in the hole when I plant tomatoes and they come out huge and tasty!

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thinkiam (author)2016-04-13

Thinks for this 'ible! Some of these I do already, but a LOT were new and great ideas.

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mluttrell made it! (author)2016-03-27

my pill bottles live a long life. lol. everyone I know appreciates one like this, with attached lid. It can't be lost, and has a way to attach it to almost anything. :-)

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magicdust (author)mluttrell2016-03-27

Nice idea! That would work great. Do you think cord glued to the outside of the bottle would hold?

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mluttrell (author)magicdust2016-04-05

Bet it would. But I would wrap the cord Around the bottle and tie it before gluing, for added strength.

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BlightOwl (author)2016-03-26

Thanks so much for this; I've been meaning to compile a list of all the uses for old Rx bottles, and you've already done so! If I may, could I add another thing to do with them?
Donate them!
As long as you can be sure your Rx bottles are clean and free of pertinate personal information, and you've exhausted all the uses listed here, you can give them to those in need. Who is pining for Rx bottles, anyway? Turns out, there's a great need for child-safe prescription bottles in impoverished countries. Often times, in places like Malawi (landlocked country in Africa), people will walk miles for their medication, only to receive it in a folded piece of paper, leaving the potentially dangerous medicine easily accessed by the unknowing mouths of children. Rx bottles with child-safe caps are a luxury not available to a staggering number of people.
The Malawi Project used to collect bottles for donation to medical centers, but sadly has ceased collection since December 31, 2015. Since then, another organization specifically advertizing collection of Rx bottles hasn't come about. But that doesn't mean the need is no longer there! There are plenty of NGOs and groups working in Africa and other continents that would happily appreciate the bottles. I'll look into this more - I have a few people and groups in mind - and keep you all posted.
Anyway, thanks again for this!

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deb mccolley (author)BlightOwl2016-04-02

Here is an alternative.....http://www.malawiproject.org/alternative-sites-for-empty-prescription-containers/

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callhow (author)2016-03-29

BTW (By The Way) Don't forget to pack a few Band-Aids and matches for you fishing....The matches hep for lighting lanterns (old types) and Band-Aids are always welcome - as some fish (AND fish hooks) don't like being handled!

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callhow (author)2016-03-29

Re; #43 (fishing gear). For years, I've used these pill bottles as "bobbers" to notify the user of fish (nibbling at bait below). The white ones are easy to see during most daytime fishing - however as darkness starts ...I use them for nightime fishing. I use a coin-cell battery & tape/attach a LED bulb - and place it inside! The water can't get in to short out the LED bulb and stays bright.- If it "disappears" under the surface - GET READY to land a fish! As these are so buoyant - you need enough weight/sinker to keep it in place (but not too much that it pulls the bobber under). Clear & white ones - are the best!

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