Upcycling a Plastic Barrel in Your Garden

While many of us are trying to avoid plastic in the garden when it is at all possible, it may be possible to help in reducing plastic waste by reusing old plastic items in your garden. One large plastic item that is often reused in gardens are large plastic barrels. These large barrels can be used in your garden in a wide range of different ways. For example, you could:

Harvest Rainwater from Garden Structures or Your Roof

Rather than buying a new plastic butt to harvest rainwater in your garden, you could consider upcycling an old plastic barrel for the purpose instead. Often, these can be found very cheaply or even sourced for free online. The rainwater that you collect will be invaluable when it comes to watering your plants.

Create Plastic Barrel Planters/ Raised Beds

You could also use a plastic barrel as a simple planter or raised bed. You could simply fill the barrel with soil and plant up the top. But you could also consider lining the barrel with hessian or sacking, cutting holes in the sides, and turning it into a vertical garden. Another idea involves cutting the barrel in half and placing the two halves on a wooden table framework to create an easy access raised bed garden.

Create a Barrel-Sized Aquaponics System

A plastic barrel could also be your gateway into the wonderful world of aquaponic gardening. You can use a plastic barrel both as a fish holding tank and a media bed in an aquaponic system, so you can create a sustainable system from which you can harvest both plant-based foods and fish.

Create a DIY Wheelbarrow or Garden Trolley

A plastic barrel cut in half could also be used to make a wheelbarrow or a garden trolley that will make it easier for you to transport things around your outside space. By affixing the plastic half-barrel to a framework and wheel or wheels, you can create a surprisingly sturdy receptacle that will come in handy for a range of garden projects.

Make a Compost Bin or Wormery

Another way to use a large plastic barrel is to turn it into a compost bin or wormery, to process organic waste and create a valuable material to grow seeds and plants and fertilise the soil in your growing areas.

These are just a few of the many ideas that you could consider to make full use of a plastic barrel that might otherwise be thrown away. To combat the problem of plastic waste, we should, of course, avoid buying new plastic items whenever possible. But we should also do what we can to prolong the useful lives of plastic items that are already out there for as long as possible.