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New uses for milk jugs

By on May 27, 2009

milk jugs
photo by ivoryelephantphotography

The first three tips share ways to reuse milk jugs. How do you reuse them? Many people recycle them, but a large percentage are still hitting landfills. So it’s important to reuse them when possible and recycle instead of simply throwing them away. I shared additional ways to reuse milk jugs last year. I’m looking for more ideas on how to reuse milk-jug caps, too. If you have creative suggestions, let me know.

SAVE WITH OLD MILK JUGS: If you live in a cold climate, fill the milk jugs with water and freeze them outside in the wintertime. Fill up any extra space in your refrigerator or freezer with these blocks of ice, and your appliance won’t have to work so hard to cool all that airspace. There have to be some perks to living in a deep freeze. Sometimes the old ways are still the best. — Greg, Canada

MILK JUG LID CRAFT: I was surprised to see that someone else has taken an interest in milk jug lids. I am sending you a photo of my idea. I cut the center out of each lid, and crochet each with a simple chain stitch. Once I get seven of each color, I link those together. I’m not that great at crocheting, and this offers a simple way to make something that finally actually looks uniform. I hope you like it. –Mary Jo Fraley, Moody, TX
milk jug lids

MAKESHIFT CLOCHE: In spring, I reuse plastic milk jugs in the garden. In order to get a short jump on the growing season, I plant heat-loving vegetables as early as possible. I can get a two-week jump on the season by placing a plastic milk jug over each of the plants. Just cut off the bottom, and place over the plant. I leave the cap off for better air circulation. You then have a mini-greenhouse! Remove as the temperature warms, and clean/stack/store in an out-of-the-way place. Often, I can get several seasons out of these milk jugs. — Kelly, e-mail

FRUGAL HOLIDAY DECOR: I repurpose plastic gallon milk jugs in several ways. I use them for driveway luminaries at Christmas. I leave the handle and top intact and the bottom bowl intact, cutting into the side and making a large opening. I fill partially with sand, and use a tea lite. Cutting the same way, I use the jugs as chicken feeders. I hang the jugs on the side of the chicken-wire cage, and the shape prohibits the chickens from sitting on the feeder. I never have dirty food or food waste with the milk-jug feeders. Also, since I make my own laundry detergent, I use cleaned gallon milk jugs to hold the homemade liquid detergent. — L. Zeh, e-mail

BABY-FOOD-JAR PHOTO HOLDER: Cut the photo to the height of the jar, roll photo a little to go in, put in upside down, let unroll, paint lid if wanted, and place with lid down. This looks great with a grouping with different-sized jars. Add a candle in a jar in the middle of all the photo jars! — Cindy, Michigan

PERFECTLY SHAPED TORTILLAS: A great method for getting lovely, consistently round tortillas without a tortilla press is with a round pizza pan. Grease the pan, grease one hand, and press lightly as you slowly (or quickly) spin the pizza pan. You can use fingertips, the ball or palm of your hand or whatever technique is most effective for you. I was able to get tortillas of a consistent thickness and roundness for the first time using this method. Learned it from my Honduran tia (aunt). — Stevi, e-mail

HANDY SHAKER: I use empty spice bottles with the shaker top to store toothpicks in vehicles, on the table or anywhere I might need toothpicks. It’s so easy to just take off the lid and shake the bottle and out pops a toothpick. — Louise, Canada


  1. cristy

    6/10/2009 at 12:44 pm

    i use the jugs to store beans, and rice in the work out great

  2. Barbara

    7/16/2009 at 11:23 pm

    I use milk jugs for funnels. cut into and turn upside down to use as funnel. Skrew lid back on and can use as a large scoop for grass seed, kitty litter ect. Use to haul water to flower beds too.

  3. Darlene

    2/3/2010 at 6:42 pm

    We use the plastic gallon milk jugs for ice. We use a lot of ice in coolers in the summer – so we wash out the milk jugs really good and fill with water (be sure to not fill completely to leave room for expansion)and throw them in the freezer. We have an old upright freezer in the garage which in mainly for the ice. Then when we need the ice we just use a hammer (use the side of the hammer so it won’t pound a hole through the jug) and beat the frozen jug to crush ice. We use a utility knife and cut a V-shape to pour the ice out of the jug. Saves a lot of money. Those bags of ice are rediculously expensive.

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