All Women's Talk

9 Uses for Old Food Containers ...

By Alison

Do you recycle food containers when you’ve used their contents, or throw them away? The better of the two options is to recycle where you can, but there is another option – to reuse them. Here I suggest some alternative uses for food containers.

1 Water Bowls

Water BowlsPhoto Credit: dbmboise - Shanghai through my eyes

I usually buy water in large 5 litre bottles, and used to put them straight into recycling after use. Then it occurred to me that they would make great water bowls for my cats. I cut off the end of the bottle to make a dish about 3-4’’ high, which holds a good amount of water. When I finish the next bottle, I recycle the old ‘dish’.

2 Dry Goods Storage

Dry Goods StoragePhoto Credit: kimhas7cats

I sometimes buy mini crackers, which come in a plastic container with a screw-top lid. Once washed out, these make great storage containers for flour, sugar or breadcrumbs.


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3 Dessert Pots

Dessert PotsPhoto Credit: Kat Johnston / Sanura Sakai

As my cats are fed on dry food, I buy it in large 5kg bags. A plastic dessert pot makes the perfect scoop for filling their bowls with food.

4 Candle Holders

I’m particularly fond of a chocolate dessert that comes in small glass jars. These make excellent containers for tealight candles. You could even get some glass paints and decorate them.

5 Piggy Bank

Another use I found for the plastic cracker containers was to turn one into a piggy bank. All my low denomination coins go in there – we all have lots of them clogging up our wallet! – and when it is full, I plan to pay it into the account of the cat rescue I work with.

6 Plant Pot

Plant PotPhoto Credit: herzogbr

Here’s a great way to get long-term use out of the large water bottles! As with the water bowls, cut off the end (higher this time), and use them for your plants. Smaller bottles can be used for seedlings.

7 Storage

StoragePhoto Credit: Darren W

Any plastic container with a lid can be used for storing small items. So don’t throw away those margarine tubs or fruit containers! I remember that when I was younger, we used to remove the print from the outside of margarine tubs with scouring powder – that would make your storage look a little nicer. They also stack very well.

8 Pencil Holder

Pencil HolderPhoto Credit: La Belle Avenue

Do you have umpteen loose pens lying around, yet can never find one when you need it? Use a small bottle to store them (or a larger one if your kids have lots of colouring pencils).

9 Flower Vase

Flower VasePhoto Credit: m0obaly

A plastic bottle might not be the prettiest vase, but it did the job perfectly when I bought some flowers and then realised that I didn’t have a vase in the house!

I hope that these ideas have inspired you to find new uses for food containers instead of throwing them away. It’s good for the environment, and could save you money as well! Do you have any ideas you can share with us?

Top Photo Credit: Andrew C Kurcan Photography

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