5 Ways to Recycle Used Containers

Every time we go to the grocery store, we often leave with containers that many of us toss after just one use. Unfortunately, not all of these containers can go into our recycling bins. Some will end up in landfills, taking hundreds of years to decompose. To avoid sending your old containers to the dump, here are five ways to reuse them!

1. Storage

Storage is a common way of reusing old containers. Many use them to pack their leftovers or lunch, but you can also decorate them to create pencil holders for your desk, or label them to keep track of your small items. The possibilities are endless!

Tip: Keep a few containers in your car or bag for leftovers from restaurants. This way, you won’t need to ask for a new takeout box.


Small Items

Pencil Holders


2. Planting

Have you ever wanted to start your own garden? You can use your old containers to do just that! Poke a few holes at the bottom of your container to ensure proper drainage, add a little bit of soil, and plant your seeds. If your container is big enough, you can even plant a few different things in one container! This is a great way to reduce waste, and it can even help to reduce your carbon footprint.

Tip: Plant the seeds from the fruits and vegetables you eat at home. Some easy starter plants include tomatoes, papayas, green onions, and peppers.

Trees in Bottles

Plants in Small Container


3. Watering Can

All of your plants are eventually going to need some water. Use an old juice bottle or milk jug to create a watering can! Take off the cap and add a few holes. These can be smaller or bigger depending on what kind of flow you prefer. If you ever want the flow to be more powerful, you can always remove the cap!

Tip: Keep your watering can or an old jug in the car. It’s perfect for cleaning your sandy feet after a long day at the beach.


Milk Jug


4. Scoops

Scoops can be used in so many ways. You can use them for gardening, cleaning up after your pet, scooping kibble, or playing in the sand. A lot of the scoops sold in stores are made of plastic. Fortunately, there are a few ways to make your own using your old plastic jugs. One way is to simply remove a few inches from the bottom, creating an opening.

Tip: If you want to use your scoop/shovel to dig sand or dirt, use a jug with thicker plastic.

Plastic Scoop


5. Giftwrap

Every year, approximately 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper is produced in the U.S. and about half of that ends up in landfills. To decrease the amount of waste created on birthdays, special occasions, and holidays, wrap your gifts with recycled materials. Say ‘no’ to new boxes, wrapping paper, and cellophane. Instead, use old containers to package goodies and consider wrapping them with newspaper. Don’t use plastic ribbon; instead opt for raffia or hemp cord. Your gifts will be beautiful and sustainable!

Tip: Decorate your gift with real flowers or leaves to add a pop of color and a nice scent!

Newspaper Presents

Plants on Presents 


Sources: Chariot Energy, Earth911, Instructables, Pinterest