Reuse: plastic Nalgene-type water bottles as bedwarmers/coolers
Last Friday, our green elementary school hosted its carnival. Not really a fundraiser. Just a fun blow-out for the end of the year. Pizza slices for sale. Bouncy houses. Duck pond. You know the drill. But a heck of a lot of fun. They did skip the always popular toss a pie in the face of your 'favorite' teacher, which was a bit of a relief. As much as some kids like it, others feel sort of weird about how disrespectful it is. And it's a heck of a waste of whipped cream in a country that wastes far too much food as it is!! Well, maybe not exactly cream. Food product. Lite non-dairy whipped topping? In any case, what fat it does have gets in the eyes of the teachers and they end up all blurry eyed for days. The above photo was taken last year of our beloved kindy teacher who took it all in stride and wisely wore swim googles. I guess we should be thankful it wasn't replaced with a dunk tank!!
Anyhoo. Back to the carnival. As part of our Green Team, we've been selling stainless steel water bottles emblazoned with our school logo to promote reuse and drinking tap water. One of the parents ordered a bunch of them wholesale prior to our last auction, and while they have been a big seller, we've still got a fair inventory, so we set up a table and sell them at picnics, carnivals, etc. Don't ask me the margin on 'em. I don't know. But it is cool to see how many folks bring their own bottles and filled up from the 5-gallon durable water containers we provided, or would choose to buy the $12 stainless steel bottle over the single-use water bottles for sale over at the concessions table.
While selling the steel bottles, I was chatting with a fellow green parent who had a great reuse idea for her old plastic Nalgene water bottles. She and her family use them for hot water bottles to warm up cold beds in the winter. Remember the old rubber hot water bottles? I don't know of anyone who ever used those, but I've seen pictures. But what a great idea for reusing old Nalgenes that you don't use for drinking any longer. We do keep our house cold in the winter, so this sure would be a nice way to warm up a chilly bed. Now that it's heating up for summer, this may not be the most practical idea (unless you go camping in the mountains like we do and you risk frostbite sleeping in a tent). However, you could probably take the opposite approach and freeze a mostly filled Nalgene and use it to cool off your bed, pillow or feet in the summer.
I've also seen that you can turn your old water bottle into a camping lantern -- but I've yet to try it myself. Has anyone tried it?
Do you have any other great reuse ideas for plastic water bottles that you'd like to share?