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New uses for plastic ice cream tubs

By on September 12, 2011

Plastic ice cream containers seem too good to throw away. They’re bulky, so you don’t want to save them without having a purpose for them. Some are now available as a square container. This makes them great space-saving storage or gift containers.
Here are a few ways to use them.



Keep them on the counter or under your sink to hold kitchen scraps that you want to compost. The lid keeps odors to a minimum.


Instead of stacking your mail on the counter, place it in the container until you can pay the bills or sort through it.


If you’re heading to a picnic or a cookout, use the containers for your potluck dishes, such as salads, chips, popcorn or cookies. The handle makes them easy to carry, and you don’t need to worry if you accidentally leave it behind.


Use a few containers to store car wash supplies, such as car wax, chamois and sponges. They can hold pet food, birdseed, small tools and snow salt, too. Use one for gardening supplies, such as starting seeds or holding garden markers, seed packets and garden gloves.


Fill them with supplies to use on a rainy day or as a boredom buster, such as crayons, markers, paints, brushes, scissors, chenille stems, craft foam, fabric scraps, yarn, sewing supplies, etc.


Use one or more containers as a simple storage solution for winter hats, baseball caps, gloves, scarves and mittens.


Store seasoning packets, boxed gelatin, sponges, instant oatmeal, coupons, plastic grocery bags, recipe cards, batteries, twist ties or cookie cutters.


Store them under the sink and use them to hold scrub brushes, sponges, scrub pads, clothespins, rags and plastic grocery bags. Use one to hold homemade laundry soap, too.


Organize toys such as small cars, game pieces, Barbie clothes and accessories, blocks, playing cards or flashcards, action figures and Legos. Take one to the beach for sandcastles; one can also be useful as a snowball holder or for a backyard sandbox. Use one to hold sidewalk chalk or Play-Doh. Fill one with activities for kids to do or small toys to play with during car rides, too.


Each family member can have his or her own container. Or place mismatched socks in it until you find their mates. Use one to hold dryer lint, too.


Organize washcloths, tub toys, soaps, deodorant, cosmetics, hair accessories, free samples, toothbrushes, etc.


You can cover the outside with decorative adhesive paper, line the inside with tissue paper and fill as you would a gift basket.
Some ideas include:

— Pet kit: Add homemade treats, a leash, a collar and grooming supplies.

— Back-to-school kit: Add pencils, a ruler, school glue, glue sticks, erasers, scissors, highlighters, hand sanitizer, a pencil sharpener, facial tissue, etc.

— First-aid: Add bandages, gauze, cotton balls, tweezers, a reusable ice pack, calamine lotion, peroxide, etc.

— Get-well kit: Add chicken soup, puzzle books, magazine, tea, cold medicine, slippers, cough drops, etc.

— Baby kit: Add shampoo, body wash, baby washcloths, towel, nail scissors, bibs, rattle, etc.

— Office kit: Add items such as a hole punch, a stapler, thumb tacks, paper clips, pens and pencils, sticky notes, a calendar, a mouse pad, facial tissue, label maker, calculator, rubber bands, tape, stamps, etc.

— Teen girl kit: Add nail polishes, earrings, cosmetics, brushes, hair accessories, a journal, lotion, a T-shirt, etc.

— Sundae kit: Add ice cream syrups, sprinkles, maraschino cherries, nuts, plastic bowls, an ice cream scoop, etc.

— Kitchen gadget lover: Add a whisk, a melon baller, cookie cutters, an apple corer, dish towels, recipe cards, a spoon rest, potholders, herbs and spices, etc.

— Beach kit: Add sunglasses, sunscreen, a beach towel and a book.


  1. R Sullivan

    12/21/2011 at 2:04 pm

    I save them up and we use them at the food bank to pass out laundry soap and shampoo.

  2. Chuck Sypult

    12/29/2011 at 2:22 am

    I use my old ice cream containers to hold potato chips and other snacks that come in bags.The air tight seal keeps them fresh and crisp much long.

  3. Misty

    6/5/2012 at 11:22 pm

    I have one that I use to keep all my change in.

  4. Connie

    9/16/2012 at 12:43 pm

    To state the obvious, I have several of these that I use as mini-buckets to mix liquid cleaner (SpicNSpan, Lysol) and hot water on cleaning day. The smaller size and bail makes it easy to carry from room to room. I use the lids under large flower pots.

  5. Michele

    2/17/2013 at 6:03 am

    I love these containers! I use a couple for compost…holding kitchen scraps until I can carrythem to my compost heap. I love the other ideas for using them. I hate to toss things as sturdy and useful at these containers and they take up lots of landfill space!

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