Letter Re: Finding Utility in Plastic Sodapop Bottles

I have just been at the sink filling water bottles. I know you say to leave the sodas alone, and for the most part I do, but occasionally I enjoy a glass of Coca-Cola. Okay, more than occasionally, but we will move on. We also attend family gatherings and church socials where refreshments are served. There are also all those school events coming up, for those still involved in public school where people will have to provide refreshments for different occasions. Instead of the cans of soda, buy the 2 liter plastic jugs. Re-use the jugs by washing them well and then refilling with water. Add a drop of two extra of bleach and voila, you have jugged storage water.

I have recently had a short term TEOTWAWKI situation where these filled bottles came in handy. Two weeks or so ago we had a wonderful rain storm. We needed it badly, and was so thankful for it. My sister was over and I was at the sink filling bottles. I had about six bottles filled and turned around to get some more. The storm had a lot of lightning in it and we had a small flash of the lightning. I just thought the power had dropped for a moment. I turned back to the sink and there was not a drop of water that would come out of the faucet. That quickly–no water! That small power drop was actually lightning hitting an 8″ water main somewhere up on the highway. We had no city water for several hours. We have a large generator and well, so I actually could have used that water source, but many people do not have that luxury–city water is it. I’m sure there were several folks in my community that had no other water that day. Fill them up and stick them in the bottom of a closet or under a bed that is high enough off the floor to accommodate them. Check occasionally for leaks, but I do not ever recall having one. Recently a whole county in my state had their water supply cut off for four days during the over 100 degree weather. Some of these stored up would have eased a bad situation at least for cooking, making coffee or tea or even having a washcloth bath.

Also these can be frozen and used in an ice chest while grocery shopping, or for ice for a large crowd, or for sore muscles, bruises, etc. Anytime you are somewhere where these bottles are being used, save them or volunteer to take the trash out and save the bottles in your vehicle if you do not want anyone to question why you want them. I am always looking for ways to reuse something to save money and although this is simple idea every little bit helps. Thanks for all you do, it is a tremendous help to my family.

JWR Replies: Clear HDPE plastic water bottles have a large number of uses. In addition to innumerable uses as storage containers, they can also be used for gardening hot caps, by cutting off their bottoms. This, BTW, also turns a bottle into a practical funnel. Anyone living in earthquake country should consider them their primary containers for short term water storage. If they tumble off a shelf in an an earthquake, they’ll likely survive. You can also make a wasp trap by cutting a bottle in half and inserting the inverted the top half into the bottom half. Wash and save every bottle!