> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Outside the Box: Unconventional uses for soda bottles



Outside the Box: Unconventional uses for soda bottles

Oh the old 2 liter...so common, so overlooked.

So many possibilities.

Continuing this series where we examine common household items to and brainstorm useful survival and contingency uses for them, it's the soda bottle, found in stores, recycling bins and trash piles across the globe.

Yep, the container part is obvious and quite useful. They pretty darn good containers. Many folks recycle 2 liters for use storing emergency water or staple foods. They tend to hold up to some decent abuse, too.

But, soda bottles can do more than that...time for a knowledge share amongst the T-Blog tribe. Let's see what ya got.

I'll go first. Well, really, I'll flip over something I'd seen, forgotten and then had blog amigo EdWood remind me of when he shared on the Libre MX Facebook page (in Spanish but good pictures).

Civil unrest...riots in the streets. Cops are blasting the mobs with tear gas galore. Thick clouds of the noxious fumes are rolling over the area. You just want to get home without choking to death on your own phlegm.

Take your N95 mask (or soaked cloth...I've seen vinegar, lemon juice recommended, water is better than nothing), some duct tape or scavenged foam rubber, cordage and a scavenged 2L or other similarly sized plastic bottle. A little bit of craft work and you have yourself an improvised gas mask.

Complete instructions here.

Note that this is clearly an improvised, last-ditch kind of thing and your results will vary. If you have a high likelihood of dealing with tear gas or worse, get a real mask.

Now, let's see what creative, nefarious and useful uses you can come up with or track down for the good ol' 2 liter bottle.

Links to pictures, instructionals, YouTube videos encouraged. E-mail me if you've got original images or instructions you'd like to share.


  1. I really like the gas mask idea!

    A couple other options for 2 liter bottles are:
    -The bottles can be cut with a simple razor jig into strong, heat sealable cordage

    -The mouthpiece of a soda bottle is an almost perfect fit with 1/2" PVC pipe. This provides many potential applications. We used to use the tops of soda bottles as mouthpieces for DIY PVC blowguns, which fired wooden and paper darts with great accuracy.

  2. An obvious one: cutting the top to make a funnel, for whatever you need. (Since it's easily disposable, I tend to use it for anything automotive.). Punch a hole in the cap, and you have a pressurized irrigator, for cleaning wounds, when you squeeze it. Small flowerpots for your Victory Garden.

  3. They make loud guns less loud.

  4. I've heard of them being used to store dried rice and/or beans. This sounds like a good idea because keeping the bugs out and keeping them dry are really the two main issues. Yes the bottles are translucent, but light and heat can be dealt with via your choice of storage locations. The bottles are easy to handle, easy to store/stack so I like the idea, especially if you can't afford any other types of air-tight containers.

    1. Oh, and jug fishing....if you don't know what it is, youtube it...

    2. 2 liter bottle holds exactly 4 lbs of white rice..just keep tapping the bottom to pack it tight.. then stick in an O2 absorber, add label and pack away.

  5. riverriderAugust 15, 2014

    i imagine they could be filled with sand and stacked sideways as sandbags? if you use them for long term storage of bulk foods be advised the bugs are already in there in the form of eggs. add o2 absorber and since plastic breathes, use the food w/i a year or two. some folks say freezing the food first kills the eggs, but it freezes in nature every year, yet more bugs. idk if freezing works or not. i've seen a big net bag filled w/ empty 2l bottles used as floats under a dock, and a raft.

  6. I haven't tried Creek Stewart's suggestion yet, cutting off bottom of bottle and folding up edge INSIDE to form a lip. Place on top of wet areas to gather water via evaporation, the water running down the sides and getting captured on bottom of lip. I need to try that - in our humid country, it would work well.

    When I was a smoker (quit 16 years ago), I used to use these bottles as indoor ash tray, having a water level high enough to snuff out quickly. When full - just toss away.

    We've all see the floatation devices as per Riverwalker above, I seem to recall someone even made their own floating ISLAND out of them.

  7. Day TripperAugust 16, 2014

    Cut strips of electric tape, and wrap them around the back half of the bottle. You can then face the front of the bottle, which is basically an exposed "glazing," towards the sun and disinfect water faster than normal SODIS.

    1. I don't understand the tape on the back half of the bottles unless the intention is to heat the water. SODIS uses UV to disinfect.