Turn an Empty Plastic Jug into a Free Watering Can
by Rebecca Rockefeller
Need a new watering can for your garden? Check the closest recycling bin for a plastic jug. All sorts of things are packaged in containers that make wonderful watering cans, from juice to laundry detergent to kitty litter. If your bin doesn’t have what you need, check with a neighbor. That’s how I got some very sturdy and very large plastic jugs that originally held litter for my neighbors’ cat. These can’t be recycled where we live and my friends next door hated sending such solid jugs to the landfill; they just didn’t know quite how to reuse them.
Now we’ve got watering cans robust enough to take care of multiple large container plants in a single trip. Sure, they’re heavy when they’re full, but not too heavy to manage and my arms can always use a bit of free toning. Smaller juice and detergent jugs are a great fit for overhead containers, child gardeners, or anyone looking for a bit less of a workout.
Make Your Own:
- Clean the jug you’d like to reuse. Screw the cap on tight.
- Use a drill to set holes into the cap. You can mark with a pen where you’d like to drill or just decide as you go along (my preferred method).
- Use a smaller bit for a watering can suitable for seedling and delicate plants, and a larger bit for stronger plants. I used a 5/64 bit for my seedling can and a 7/64 bit for a can with stronger flow.
- Fill with water and use. If your can ever wears out, check to see if it can be recycled locally – By the time it wears out, perhaps things will have changed and currently non-recyclable hard plastics will be accepted more widely, headed for another life.
- Decorate as desired. I was able to remove and recycle the polyethylene plastic labels on these kitty litter jugs, which left a lot of open area to doodle on with a permanent marker.
Bonus use: Fill a can and keep it by your door to rinse summer feet clean of sand, dust, and other evidence of fun days outside. The water will be warmer than the hose, and that makes for much cleaner feet.