Plastic milk jugs are handy tools: not only can they be used for storage, but they are also easy to cut and reshape for general repurposing around the home. With a little time and ingenuity you can keep that plastic out of a landfill and turn those empty milk jugs into something useful, handy, and green.
UPCYCLING PLASTIC MILK JUG SUGGESTIONS
- Bird Feeder: One great use for an empty milk jug is to turn it into a quick-and-easy backyard bird feeder. Try cutting a few small holes on opposite sides of the milk jug and running a small wooden dowel through the holes. Cut a few slightly larger holes above the dowel to provide easy access to the seeds you are going to put inside. Hang the bird-feeder/milk jug from a branch and enjoy as a whole host of wildlife stops by for a free lunch.
- Plant Marker: Using a marker and a ruler, trace out several long strips along each side of the milk jug. Make one end wide enough to write on and the other sharp enough to stick in the ground. Use scissors to cut out each plant marker and then use your new creations to label each new section of your garden.
- Votive Candles: Need an easy way to light up your sidewalk for that evening BBQ? Try cutting off the top of a few milk jugs and filling the bottom with fine sand. Place a candle on top of the sand and you've got yourself an instant (and green) sidewalk decoration.
- Water Weights: If you need something to tie that tarp down during windy days, try filling a few milk jugs up with water. To keep the tarp from moving around tie each corner to the handle of your milk jug.
- Chain Storage: If you live in a part of the country that has snow, then you probably know how rusty and dirty those traction chains can get. Instead of throwing your chains in the trunk next time you are done with them, try storing them in a few milk jugs. Simply cut off the top half of the milk jug and place the chains all in one place. The upholstery in your trunk will thank you, and you won't have to hunt around for the chains next time you get stuck in the snow.
- Scoop: If you need a scoop for your laundry soap, kitty litter (or anything else for that matter) try cutting off the bottom of a milk jug. Seal the hole at the top by firmly tightening down the lid. Grab the new scoop by the handle and let your imagination run wild. Take it to the beach for building sand castles! Dig a hole in your garden! Don't say we didn't warn you about all the fun you're going to have.
- General Storage: Tired of all that clutter in your garage? Try cutting off the tops of several milk jugs and using them to store those small garden tools, nuts and bolts, and other similar items. Empty milk jug storage containers line up nicely on a shelf and can easily be labeled with a permanent marker.
- Car Organizer: Speaking of general storage, if you've got kids (or just a lot of stuff in your car) try cutting off the tops of a few jugs and using them to hold toys, rags, motor oil, gloves, or anything else you find rolling around on the floorboards while driving around town.
- Cooler Coolers: If you're planning a party outside on a hot summer day and need to keep those drinks cool, try freezing a half-gallon milk jug filled with water and placing it right next to that six pack. Up-cycling your milk jugs and reusing them as ice packs is the ultimate green way to stay cool.
- Seed Starters: If you want to start your own garden indoors before the first thaw, try cutting a few milk jugs down to size for seed and plant starters. Simply fill each jug with potting soil, plant your seeds, water, and enjoy your future garden. For better drainage, try poking a few holes in the bottom of each jug.
- Houseplant Trays: Got a few plants around the house that leak each time you water them? Remove the bottom 2 inches of a milk jug and place it under each pot.
- Plastic Bag Dispenser: Cut off the bottom of the milk jug and hang it upside down on a wall. Fill the jug with those unused plastic bags and pull them out one-by-one from the open hole at the bottom. You can re-use your plastic bags each time you go to the grocery store and re-use your plastic milk jugs each time you bring another one home. It's a win-win situation!
- Water Saver: If you want to save a bit of water in the toilet, fill up an empty ½ gallon milk jug with sand and place it in the tank on the back of the toilet. The jug will take up extra space by displacing water and keep the toilet from using too much each time you flush.
- Lego Storage: Lego purists may gasp at this one, but empty milk jugs are a great way to store small Lego pieces or other smaller toy.
- Dry Goods Storage: Milk jugs are also handy for storing dry goods such as rice, sugar, flour, salt, and other similar goods. Unlike the more expensive Tupperware alternatives, milk jugs generally use less plastic and don't cost anything extra to purchase.