Reusing Plastic Pull Tabs

Reusing Plastic Pull Tabs | ecogreenlove

Updated: June 2016

You know these things, you may see them every single day if you drink milk or juice from tetra pak. Since we landed to Heidelberg, I’ve been collecting these plastic pull tabs hoping one day to upcycle / repurpose them, but it has been difficult to find really cool ideas, but today I decided to put together the ones that are really worth sharing. The most common one you find plenty of tutorials about is the ring for kids, but here are others that may be of interest. Now I just have to choose one to start with on my own!

Hope you find them inspirational and if you have an idea of your own or you have seen something not showing here, let us know! Any contribution is welcome 🙂

To start, I would like to quote a very interesting thing I found about recycling these small plastics like the milk pull tabs or plastic bread bag ties:

Turns out that in the Portland metropolitan area you can call a recycling hotline to get answers to these kinds of questions (…) and the answer is no, you can’t recycle them in your curbside bin. They’re too small and they’ll slip through the cracks of sorting machinery. (…) “Any of the random pieces of plastic – very small objects – don’t qualify. In the curbside system, they get dumped into the truck with everything else, but they get hauled off to a sorting facility. Chances are they’re just going to fall through the cracks and become something these facilities don’t want to deal with.”

However, you can take these little plastic bits directly to recycling facilities such as Far West Fibers or Pride Recycling.

“The reason they’re able to take these things is they have a better market and they also don’t go through a sort process like curbside does. You can drop it right into a bin intended for plastics. However, you might consider how much you have to recycle before you jump in your car and drive to the drop-off site. So, maybe I’ll start a little “random plastics” drop-off site at my desk to accumulate a critical mass that will justify a trip to a recycling center.


So, for us who don’t live in Portland, or anywhere in the USA, would be worth calling our local recycling service and ask how do they process these small plastics, if they do at all. If not, here are some ideas for you to repurpose these “thingies” and avoid they just “fall” between the cracks and end up either in the landfill or in the ocean 😉

For example, artist Jane Koopman, creates art with these kind of plastics. So if you live in the vicinity of Hamilton, Ontario click here to info on how to help!

Follow this good advice to prevent animals to choke on these objects:

Aluminum pull tab rings and larger plastic rings from the tops of containers are a hazard to larger waterfowl. The staff at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque tried in vain to capture a grown Canada goose who had one of the larger plastic rings lodged around his bill, preventing him from feeding. All you have to do is cut off about one inch of the ring so that it’s no longer a ring and cut the remaining ring from the tab so that it’s not connected to the tab before discarding into your trash bin.


Click on image to see full size, click on link to go to source


More Inspiration

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Do you have other ideas? Share them with us!
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