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milk, jugs, recycleDid you know that there are millions of plastic items floating around out there in landfills? Kind of a sickening thought, huh? In my tiny town of 385 people, we have a recycling transfer station and for the items we don't reuse, my husband takes them in about once a month. Hey, it's a tiny house and even though I try, I just can't use everything.

You can keep your plastic milk jugs out of the garbage and the landfills by reusing them for everyday household organization and storage, in your yard and garden and basic toys for your kids. Try out some of these ideas.

  1. Make a cheap, easy and convenient bird feeder.
  2. Use them as a seed starting container by cutting off the jug about 3 inches from the bottom and poking small holes in the bottom for water drainage. Fill with potting soil and some seeds.
  3. Poke holes in the bottom of the jug and use as a watering can for your garden plants and flowers.
  4. Cut into strips and use a permanent marker to make plant markers.
  5. Cut the bottom and part of the handle off and use as a scoop.
  6. Cut off the bottom of the jug, poke a hole at the top of the handle and thread heavy wire through into the soil and use as a protector of your plants from the hot sun or inclement weather.
  7. Use as floaters for your kids when they are swimming or in the water. Tie a string to each handle and then tie around your child.
  8. Cut the bottom off and use the top as a funnel.
  9. Cut a hole opposite the handle and use as a storage container for almost anything. Works great for storing golf balls, nails, screws, and rubber bands and probably a thousand other things.
  10. Cut out a hole opposite the handle and use to store your plastic bags.
  11. Save them for when you need water. This works great for me when we forget to let the water drip in the winter and wake up to frozen pipes. I just run down to a friends house or to my dads house and fill up the empty jugs with water. Sure beats melting snow, cause you don't want to know how much snow it takes to make a gallon of water!!
  12. Cut the top off and use the bottom as a catch all container for things that don't have a permanent home.
  13. Cut a hole near the top and use to store your toilet brush.
  14. Use to store dry goods such as rice, coffee, and sugar.
  15. Cut a 1/4 inch slit near the top of the milk jug and use as a piggy bank. Decorate your new penny saver however you wish.
I love all these ideas and have tried the majority of them. I haven't tried the piggy bank yet, but I think that it is a great way to get my toddler involved in some of my projects. What are some of the ways you recycle your plastic jugs?


  • EliasViking

    Gas costs to much - I can't afford to drive to work?
    25% of my check goes into getting to and from work.
    2 - one gallon milk jugs. $ 0.00
    Place in freezer and let freeze.

    Turn off the refrigerator at night before you go to bed and keep door closed.

    Refrigerator stays frozen and
    cold until the next morning. Free

    Reply
  • Donna

    Great Idea! We are probably going to lose our home now I can save milk jugs and make a new one.

    Reply
  • Sam

    We save soda can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House in an empty milk jug. When the jug is full (or whenever we feel like it actually) we take them to the local school, where they have a collection spot, and then start the collection over.

    Reply
  • TJ

    Our recycling center says they can't take the milk jugs for recycling--they just throw them away...what's the deal with that?

    Reply
  • Parag

    Reusing plastic is preferable to recycling as it uses less energy and fewer resources. Long life, multi-trip plastics packaging has become more widespread in recent years, replacing less durable and single-trip alternatives, so reducing waste.
    http://www.greenliving9.com/putting-away-that-perilous-plastic.html

    Reply
  • Victor Agreda Jr

    A very long time ago (well, not in the grand scheme of things) I made an iPod case out of a milk jug. The real trick was folding everything so the brass brads never had a chance to scratch the polished steel:
    http://homepage.mac.com/vagreda/ipodsling/

    Reply
  • Francesca Clarke

    In our city we have curbside recycling pickup. While recycling is better than trashing things, it's not as good as reusing. Thanks for the tips on all these uses. We'll have to go that step further and keep a few of them them out of the recycle bin.

    Reply
  • James

    These jugs can be filled with water and then when frozen. You can add to your cooler during the summer. It is a way to save on buying ice.
    Plus, they last a long time due to their size

    Reply
  • Claudette

    When we went tent camping when I was a kid, Mom would fill a plastic jug with water, put the lid on, take a nail and punch a hole in the bottom, hang it on a tree with a dry towel, lay an old used sliver of soap on the ground under it, find a small stick and put in hole in jug to keep it from loosing all water and we had our own hand washing station.

    Reply
  • Pffft

    Reuse them for iced tea or other drink jugs.
    Fill them with water (or sand) and use as weights.
    Fill with water and freeze and use as cold drinking water as the ice melts. Great for when working outside. This works very well with plastic drink bottles also.

    Reply
  • kathy

    We use and reuse milk jugs filled with water to weight down tarps outside and to hang around the edges of the pool cover in the winter. Just remember to fill only about 3/4 full to allow for expansion when frozen. We also make brewed ice tea ( about 4 gallons each week) and store it in the fridge in empty milk jugs. We also keep an empty milk jug full of water From the tap) in the fridge so we always have cold water. Also -- on those rare occassions when we buy bottled water when out -- we save the bottles -- I wash and reuse them -- fill them and store in the fridge so we have cold water to go

    Reply
  • hmyers

    Ever have a load of drill bits in your drawer? Cut the front out of the jug, making sure you can get a full-sized piece of insulating foam (@ 2 inches or so thick), Then use it for your odd drill bits, just push them in to make a permanent home for them, and they are always easy to find!

    Reply
  • Linda

    When my sons were small, I cut them off at an angle and made scoops for a beanbag toss game. Great for that hand-eye coordination!

    Reply
  • TC

    I strongly suggest NOT using these containers as swim floaties for children. The string could cause a choking hazard.

    Reply
  • Carol

    I use the gallon size plastic milk jugs when picking my strawberry crop for sale at farmers' markets. Just cut around the pouring spout and discard that part. The opening in the jug is just right for filling with the freshly picked berries--buyers love getting a full container with and easy carrying handle for transport back to their cars. The jug usually holds about 3 1/2 quarts of berries.

    Reply
  • Johnny Ola

    Cut the bottom off on a angle, and use when you change your oil filter. It will catch any oil that will be in the filter.

    Reply
  • Paul Tomlinson

    In other words, there really isn't much you can do with plastic jugs. Honestly, perhaps you could possibly retain 10 or so for the ideas above, but not more than that.

    Recycling is still the way to go. These 'Hints from Heloise' kinda scream White Trash Central.

    Reply
  • Paul Tomlinson

    In other words, there really isn't much you can use plastic milk jugs for. Honestly, you need maybe 10 of these for what the average person would possibly use them for.

    A seed starting container? OOOOKKKKKK. Yea, I'll jump right on that.

    Ah yes, the good ol' white trash bird feeder. Classy

    A scope? Yea, b/c the sturdy plastic handle ones which last a lifetime are just too inconvenient.

    Sweet Moses on a Pogo Stick - a Piggy Bank?!? NNNOOO. Have we learned nothing as a civilization? Please raise your hand for how many of us had those as a kid... and it collected about a 1.37 in change before getting tossed.

    Toilet Brush? TOILET BRUSH? Yea, it's soooo stable to put your toilet brush in an ol' plastic milk jug... and ain't it fun to keep picking that oh so clean brush off the floor?

    Flooters for your kids... Do I even need to comment on this? See 'white trash look' above.

    Rock n Roll!!! The funnel! Yes!!! By all means, go work on your car with one of these as your funnel. Go ahead... I dare ya.

    Permanent marker for plants? Harmless I suppose, but unless your garden is the size of Idaho, exactly how many do you need? And does anyone see the irony of planting plastic sticks into fertile ground?

    I could go on and on, but you get the point. It's time to be realistic here. Of course everyone wants a clean environment, but right now, efforts should focus on recycling. 99.9% of the population simply is not going to utilize any of these idea. They're just silly. And before you dog me, honestly ask how many juges could you possibly use for this? Just recycle them and move on w/ your life.

    Reply
  • Paul Tomlinson

    In other words, there really isn't much you can use plastic milk jugs for. Honestly, you need maybe 10 of these for what the average person would possibly use them for.

    A seed starting container? OOOOKKKKKK. Yea, I'll jump right on that.

    Ah yes, the good ol' white trash bird feeder. Classy

    A scope? Yea, b/c the sturdy plastic handle ones which last a lifetime are just too inconvenient.

    Sweet Moses on a Pogo Stick - a Piggy Bank?!? NNNOOO. Have we learned nothing as a civilization? Please raise your hand for how many of us had those as a kid... and it collected about a 1.37 in change before getting tossed.

    Toilet Brush? TOILET BRUSH? Yea, it's soooo stable to put your toilet brush in an ol' plastic milk jug... and ain't it fun to keep picking that oh so clean brush off the floor?

    Flooters for your kids... Do I even need to comment on this? See 'white trash look' above.

    Rock n Roll!!! The funnel! Yes!!! By all means, go work on your car with one of these as your funnel. Go ahead... I dare ya.

    Permanent marker for plants? Harmless I suppose, but unless your garden is the size of Idaho, exactly how many do you need? And does anyone see the irony of planting plastic sticks into fertile ground?

    I could go on and on, but you get the point. It's time to be realistic here. Of course everyone wants a clean environment, but right now, efforts should focus on recycling. 99.9% of the population simply is not going to utilize any of these idea. They're just silly. And before you dog me, honestly ask how many juges could you possibly use for this? Just recycle them and move on w/ your life.

    Reply
  • Bob

    Plastic Milk Jugs: Cut a large hole opposite the handle with a small bit of the cut out piece still attached, like a flap. Use to throw in garbage, the flap serves to keep unwanted odors from escaping.

    Reply

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