Tips for Up-cycling Plastic Containers

Here are a few ways to recycle your used items to help protect the environment while saving money on entertaining your kids and organizing your house.

group of blue plastic cups (isolated on white background)

Twelve Uses for Plastic Food Storage Containers

In my house I always end up with mismatched plastic containers that never seem to have the right covers to fit the bottoms. Every year I go through my bin and end up with a bag of stray pieces. Here are a few ideas to recycle them and extend their usefulness:

  1. Instead of buying beach toys let the kids use the containers in the sand box. You will find they are sturdier than traditional beach toys. They are also great for making mud pies and holding water for fun garden play. Just be sure to dump out any excess liquid and store upside down when not in use to avoid any standing water.
  2. Use the bottoms for your next craft project. I use the plastic containers for water and paint. When you are done you can just rinse out the acrylic paint and reuse for your next crafty project.
  3. Use the lids as an artist palate or to rest brushes full of paint on.
  4. Instead of spending money on planters, drill holes in the larger bowls and use as plant pots, or use them under your plants to catch water overflow.
  5. If you have smaller square containers you can arrange them in your junk drawer to help you keep your stuff neat and organized.
  6. You can use medium-size containers for children’s toys like Legos and army figures.
  7. Plastic cups and coffee mugs make great storage for pens, pencils, straws or plastic cutlery.
  8. If you have a shallow dish, fill it with plaster and capture your kid’s hand or foot print while they are still little…
  9. Or, you can add beads and bobbles to make a mosaic stepping stone for the garden.
  10. Use recycled drink containers to water your plants.
  11. Fill them with bubble juice and let the kids blow bubbles in the back yard.
  12. Use them to sort your crafts. They are great for sorting beads, colored bands, and even glitter while you are working on your next project.

Flea Market

Bonus tips:

  • Fill take-out plastic containers with cookies and treats for special gifts
  • Use frozen whipped cream or tub margarine containers to send home leftovers after family dinners.
  • Use plastic containers in the garage or workshop to sort and store nuts, bolts and small items; or in the bedroom to sort and store jewelry; or for sewing supplies.
  • Check to be sure they are BPA free then let toddlers use them for imaginative play or stacking
  • Use mismatched pieces as pet food bowls or travel pet water dishes
  • Slide small plastic lids under your table and chair legs to preserve your wood floor.

By reusing what you already have around the house you will save money and contribute to a healthier environment!


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