Repurposing Pill Bottles

It drives me crazy that I can not return my empty pill bottles from my one prescription a month.  Obviously, one bottle per month doesn’t seem like a lot but the point is these are plastic and could be reused rather than making more.  I have found a few ways to use my empty bottles I thought I would share with you.


This bottle I use when traveling. I fill it with baking soda which can be used to brush my teeth and wash my hair on extended trips. The cap fits tightly so I have no worries it will spill in my traveling bag, which is a reusable shopping bag.


This is just a sampling of my saved seeds awaiting planting in the spring garden.  The only seeds I had too many of to use pill bottles were the watermelon and pumpkin seeds which are stored in peanut butter jars.


As I use coin-operated machines to do my laundry here at the apartment building I wanted a simple way to store the quarters.  I found a single $10 roll of quarters fits perfectly in an average-sized pill bottle.  No more fumbling around in a bowl for change to do a load of wash.

Have you come up with a creative use for medicine bottles?


  1. I love reusing stuff! Even though I’m not using prescription bottles at this time, you’ve inspired me to repurpose empty ibuprofen bottles for gardening seeds. Your semi-transluscent bottles are great for seeing what’s inside, like the seeds (although I’ll use labels or masking tape) and especially the coins! How clever. Way to help keep things from being tossed Lois. Gina

    • Gina, even with being able to see inside I did add a piece of masking tape to label the seeds, just an extra precaution that I don’t mix them up. As for the quarters for doing laundry I find it’s much easier to carry them in these bottles than stuff them in a pocket or hold them in my hand.

      Glad this inspired you to repurpose your ibuprofen bottles for your seeds. Yay more little items kept out of the landfills!!

  2. How funny, I don’t know when I last saw medication that wasn’t in a blister pack – England, maybe?! Nothing else here!!
    Having said that, homeopathic globula come in little glass bottles, as does anything that is administered in droplets…
    Anyway, nothing like you show here!

  3. When I was learning to read in primary school, our teacher would write small words (gradually progressing to larger words) and cut them out and put them into these little pill-boxes or boxes to hold rolls of film. We would then take them home and learn how to spell the words by writing them in our copy book and the next day exchange them for new words :) Thanks for reminding me of this nice little memory :)

  4. Great Idea Lois, and no I have no little plastic bottles, but I am saving all glass jars at the moment and lids, as I wash out well to store for later in the year as I intent to make more preserves this year..
    We were lucky in that a fellow allotment holder was thinning out his Raspberry canes, He asked us if we wanted some.. We also bought some loganberries and redcurrant bushes too , So hoping along with what we hope to get off our transplanted last years strawberries, to have loads of fruit.. So will be happy Jam making I think… Hence the collection of jars ready to sterilise later for the jam making.. I am asking my daughter to save some for me too..

  5. Hi Lois, I hope all is well.

    While I do not have any plastic prescription bottles, I do have an idea…why not write a book featuring all of your repurposed ideas. I’m sure there would be a ton of folks who would love to read your thoughts and tips on how living eco-friendly can be both fun and rewarding! Just a thought :)

    Take care Lois and all the best.


  6. Pill bottles are handy for many things, aren’t they? Just a word of caution–if you are going to put edible things in them, like spices, make sure the medicine residue is washed out first. We can recycle them here, but it’s hard to even do that when they are so useful.

  7. It’s ridiculous that they don’t recycle them. I use mine for safety pins, buttons, crafts…. Which is even easier as our bottles are clear plastic so you can easily see what’s inside. I don’t have that many but I do reuse them! I was just asking myself yesterday what to do with one of the bigger ones I have! Too funny that you post on this exact subject. I really like the seed idea too!

  8. This is great! I have a few glass ones with plastic lids, but I don’t like recycling, I’d rather re-use them. So I store them up until I come up with ideas. And now I have some : )

    Only thing is, I think I may have got rid of some of the lids…

  9. Agree so so much! The main thing I did was have my doctor rewrite my prescriptions for 60 or 90 days, as they’ll fill the same size container with my pills. Since I can no longer recycle this type of plastic, your ideas for seed saving are so perfect, thanks!

  10. That’s such a shame they won’t refill them, I remember reading somewhere on the blogopshere that target has refillable bottles, with unique colours for each family member.

    I used to use MnM minis containers to collect 10c pieces for a while, got a whole heap for a while. I think I eventually just banked them though!

    We don’t get medicine bottles like that pretty much at all! We get everything in pesky blister packs of plastic AND foil, making them useless for recycling. GRR – pet peeve!

    • There were some pharmacies which used to give you a discount on your next prescription for returning the empty bottles, but they have done away with that practice.

      Very few of our prescription medication comes in those blister packs. Although samples are packaged that way. The vast majority of the blister packs are usually found in over-the-counter medications.

      My bottles are slightly different from the ones normally given out as I request a non-childproof cap. It seems the only ones who can’t open those are adults as the children figure them out rather quickly.

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