I am always interested in reusing or repurposing common household items, especially in survival situations. Below is an interesting article on emergency uses for apartment and urban dwellers.
5 Bottle Uses in a Survival Scenario
by Almo Gregor
When you find yourself in a survival situation, it is vital that you use all of the resources at your disposal.
One of the first actions I suggest is slowing down to assess the resources you have. This can be especially difficult for those who live in an apartment building.
During an emergency, you may not be able to leave the building, let alone make it to an area with better resources. However, there is one resource that almost everybody has — bottles.
Both plastic and glass bottles are some of the most widely found garbage items in the world. It seems like you can find them in almost any trash can or dumpster on the planet. While that is sad for the environment, it is good news for survival. These bottles have different purposes for survival.
In this article, I will cover the top five uses for bottles in an urban setting.
If you are stuck in your apartment during an SHTF scenario, holding and purifying water is likely your biggest priority.
You may have a little clean water in the pipes that need to be stored and rationed. However, you may be forced to collect rainwater or to venture down to the street to find water.
You can kill harmful bacteria and parasites by bottling water and setting it out in the sun for at least six hours. This can be done on a balcony or window ledge, but it must be a sunny day. The water should also not be cloudy or muddy.
A bottle can also be made into a filter. You just need gravel, sand, and charcoal. Flip over the bottle and cut or break off the bottom. Then layer your materials inside the container.
As water runs through the layers, debris is removed and the charcoal draws out harmful pathogens and chemicals.
If you live in an apartment, you may be used to having a maintenance person do most of the work around the building. If this is the case, you likely do not have a tool box full of handy apparatus for survival scenarios.
This means you may have to make your tools and cordage. A glass bottle can be carefully broken to make a blade. Once you have the shape and sharpness you desire, you can wrap fabric or tape around the base to avoid cutting your hand.
Plastic bottles can be cut into long, thin strips for cordage. Cut off the bottom and start cutting a thin continuous strip along the edge. Keep cutting one long strip until the entire bottle has been cut up. This can give you several feet of strong cordage if you do it right.
Start A Fire
While it is not suggested that you start a fire in an apartment building, there are times when you do not have a choice.
If the heat is out and it is winter, you could die from hypothermia without fire. You may also need fire to cook food or purify water. If you start a fire, find a way to contain it safely. A metal pot or container is the best way to do this.
A bottle filled with water can be used as a lens to heat up the tinder to the point of combustion. You first need to find some excellent kindling, and adding an accelerant like alcohol or lighter fluid is a good idea.
Get to a window or balcony on a sunny day and find a way to position the bottle so that you get a small focal point of light on your tinder. You may have to hold it there for a very long time to get the desired temperature.
After you get some steady smoke, pick up your tinder bundle and gently blow it to coax a flame out of the ember. You can then start adding wood to grow your fire.
Keep water or an extinguisher handy in case the fire gets too big. Also, keep the windows open so you do not let carbon monoxide build up in the room.
Make A Lantern
Without electricity, the lighting in an apartment can be somewhat poor. You may have a flashlight handy but that only gives you light in one spot of the room. It can make any project very difficult.
A lantern gives you light in 360 degrees and it keeps your hands free to work on other projects. Fill a gallon milk jug or another bottle with water. Then turn on your flashlight, press the lens against the bottle, and tape it in place.
The water is going to refract the light and send it out in 360 degrees to light the whole room. Be sure to turn it off when you do not need light to conserve the batteries.
Early Alert System
In an urban survival scenario, other people can be your biggest concern. A locked door is no match for an individual who is starving and dehydrated looking for supplies. You can expect that eventually, people may try to take anything you have.
Your best bet is to rig up an early alert system so you can be prepared to defend yourself in this situation. There are two ways to do this.
You can attach a string to your doorknob or to cover a window and stretch the string across the window frame as a trip line for where the window opens. Then attach a bottle to the string and add a few small pieces of metal or glass.
Test it out to make sure that it makes a noise whenever the door is opened or the trip line is hit.
About the Author:
Almo Gregor is a firearm enthusiast and avid hunter. Outdoors, hunting and shooting were a big part of his childhood, and he continues with these traditions in his personal and professional life, passing the knowledge to others. Almo is also an editor for Outdoor Empire.