Repurpose Plastic Containers (Without Creating Confusion)
I make an effort to reuse or repurpose plastic containers whenever I can. Not only is it better for the planet, but it’s an easy way to build up a collection of free reusable containers!
From yogurt cups to sour cream containers to butter tubs, a wide variety of store-bought items come in plastic containers, so I always have plenty of them I can “upcycle.” I like to remove the print from the containers before I reuse them, partly because I prefer the clean, print-free look, and partly to avoid confusing everyone in the house by with containers whose contents don’t match their labels.
I’ll show you how to remove the ink from plastic containers below, then we’ll talk about how you can reuse them!
How To Remove Print From Plastic Containers
Just pour a little rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover onto a cotton ball and wipe it across the printed areas. You may need to use a few cotton balls to get all of the ink off, but pretty soon you’ll have a naked container! Give it a good wash in warm, soapy water and then it’ll be ready to use.
15 Practical Ways To Reuse Plastic Containers
Now that you have your de-inked and squeaky clean container, what are you going to do with it? It’s up to you, but I’ve got a few ideas to share with you to help you get inspired. ;-)
1. Frozen Foods
Once you’ve opened a bag of frozen veggies or other frozen food, store the unused portion in a plastic container. They’ll keep your frozen foods from accidentally spilling everywhere, and they’re easier to stack than tied-off bags!
2. Bulk Goods
Buying food from the bulk section of your grocery store is a great way to save money, and you can save even more by storing them in repurposed containers! Use a piece of masking tape on the lid or front to identify what’s inside.
Speaking of bulk goods, smaller containers are great for storing bulk spices! They’re so much cheaper to buy than packaged spices, and less wasteful too. Yogurt containers in particular are perfect for spices, because the mouth of the container is wide enough that you can scoop out the contents with a teaspoon. Easy measuring!
I like to send my kids home with leftovers when they come over for dinner, but then I end up giving away all my good storage containers! So I’ve started using repurposed containers to pack up leftovers. It’s quick and easy, and I don’t have to worry about hounding my kids to bring them back. ;-)
Use a larger container as a spill-resistant drink cup! Just poke a small hole in the lid, slip a straw in, and fill the container with your beverage of choice. You can even take it in the car with you without having to worry about spills.
Place a small container inside a larger one to make an easy snacking setup! Put your favorite dip in the center cup, and your favorite dipping snack in the space around the center cup.
Yogurt cups are a great size for starting seedlings! Just cut the top part of the cup off before planting. This will make it much easier to slide the seedling out when it’s time to transfer it to a larger container.
Decorate a container with washi tape or craft paper, and use it to store crayons and other art supplies.
9. Office Supplies
Short tubs and containers can help you organize office supplies in your desk drawers. Use them to corral paper clips, rubber bands, binder clips, and more.
Use a repurposed container as a scoop for your pet’s food. Use a measuring cup to measure out one serving of food, then pour that amount into the container. Use a marker to mark how full the container is with one serving of food for quick and easy measuring! You can even leave the scoop in the food bag or container so you don’t misplace it.
You can use small containers to “wrap” small gifts. Just place the gift inside, and decorate the outside with paint, tape, or modpodge to make it cute. :-)
12. Yarn & Ribbon
There’s nothing more frustrating than a tangled mess of yarn or ribbon! Keep it organized by storing your collection in a repurposed container. Just cut holes in the side, then feed your yarn or ribbon through. Pull gently to dispense more yarn or ribbon, and it will stay nice and tangle-free!
13. Fabric Softener
Here’s a method that will make the most out of a bottle of fabric softener. Grab a container, then cut up a clean kitchen sponge into pieces that are small enough to fit inside. Pour fabric softener into the container so that it soaks into the sponge pieces. When you put a load of clothes in your dryer, just grab one of the softener-soaked sponges, squeeze it a bit so that it’s damp but not dripping, and toss it right in with your clothes. You’ll still have soft and static-free clothes, but your bottle of fabric softener will last several times longer than it would have!
Use a repurposed container to store food scraps for your composting. When the container is full, add it to your compost pile, rinse out the container, and start again!
15. Meal Prep
Prepping your meals ahead of time can be a great way to eat healthier on a busy schedule. But you’re going to need a lot of containers to store all that prepped food! If you have a sizable collection of repurpose containers, you’ll have plenty of options for storing your prepped meals.
Find more great ways to reuse a variety of everyday items! Visit the Uses For Page.
What are your favorite uses for plastic containers?