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LGLWSM Newsletter 070 - Ingenious Ways to Reuse Milk Cartons
May 02, 2014

In honor of earth day this past month, I started thinking of different ways to reuse stuff that typically gets tossed in the trash. From growing up, I remembered that milk cartons could serve a good purpose but I wanted to find more. I was delighted to find a variety of different ways to recycle them!

Most health-conscious people today are typically also environment-conscious. (I would hope!) Those cardboard-type milk or juice cartons take a lot more time to degrade at the trash dump because of the wax coating. Here are some clever ways to reuse them and keep more of them out of the landfills.

milk carton coin purses image

Different Uses for Empty Milk Cartons

  • Going to the beach or on a picnic? Fill cleaned milk carton (a few days in advance) with water, then freeze. Place them in the bottom of your coolers to keep drinks super cold all day long. When you get home, stick them back in the freezer to use another time.

  • If you need to move big pieces of furniture, cut the tops off the cartons and place one carton around each furniture leg. You can easily glide heavy furniture around on many types of floors without scratching them!

  • If you’ve ever needed to paint something for a quick touch up, you know how inconvenient using paint out of a gallon-size container can be. Plus it gets messy, messy, messy! Instead, pour a small amount of paint into a clean milk carton (cut half-way down) to use instead. You still have to throw away the container after using it but it’s a great way to temporarily recycle them.

  • Cut small quart-sized milk cartons lengthwise and use them for utensil organizers in your drawers. Staple together the end that was open. You can also paint them for a flair of color.

  • When I was growing up, our neighbor Mrs. Jenkins used milk cartons this way: Every time you have a small amount of leftover veggies, rice, beans, etc. you can’t use for another meal, instead of tossing them, stuff them into a clean milk container and keep it in the freezer. When the carton gets full, add the contents to homemade soups or stews. Believe me, her soups were simply delish!

  • Slit cartons open and spread them flat. Use the paper side to drain fried foods you make at home. The wax side underneath prevents the oil from leaking onto the counter. No more greasy counter messes!

  • Each year my mom and neighbor (Mrs. Jenkins again:o) made a huge vat of Brunswich stew in the fall to keep our families well fed throughout the winter. When the stew was ready, they ladled the stew into clean milk cartons they’d been saving for a few months. Simply close the lid with tape, label with magic marker on masking tape, and defrost when you need a ready-to-eat meal. (Obviously, you can use them for any type of meals you prepare in advance.)

  • If you like to grow your own plants or flowers, cut cartons in half, punch holes in the bottom, and fill with potting mix. Plant your own seedlings instead of buying them!

  • Empty milk cartons are great for storing suet or making peanut-butter based mixes. Pour the hot mix into the carton, cool until firm, and cut into one inch-thick slices. Peel off the carton to fill suet feeders. Your birds will thank you!

  • Coat the inside of cleaned milk cartons with cooking spray. Anchor a candle wick to the bottom, tie the other end around a pencil that stretches out the width of the carton, and fill with ice cubes. Then pour in the hot melted wax. The melting ice forms beautiful formations in the candle as it dries. These are called Ice Candles.

  • If you have small children or grandbabies, you can make the coolest change purses with them. (pictured above) Get the steps here: How to Make Milk Carton Coin Purses

  • Cut the bottom and top off the carton to create a collar for your plants. Push them deep into the soil to prevent plant roots from wandering. Some veggies like potatoes can grow wild if you don’t contain the roots.

    You can also use the cartons in large container pots for plants (like herbs) you prefer to keep separated. Or for plants that slugs seem to go after (like strawberries), use them as a collar around plants to keep slimy bugs from crawling on and eating tender leaves.

    Years ago, we all got caught up in the throw-away hype. Thankfully, most of us are re-thinking bad habits we got into! If you can think of other ways to reuse the cartons, please contact me and I'll add your suggestions to this newsletter. Otherwise, before you toss stuff in the trash, try and imagine things you might do with them instead. But even if your stuff does end up in the landfill, you know what they say; "One mans' trash is another man's treasure". Maybe someone else will appreciate the things you toss:o)


    Ruff Hunter image

    This picture of Ruff on my bed was taken at the beginning of 2014, right before my little boy got sick. In the past few months though, his habits have changed and he hasn't wanted to get onto the bed anymore. It makes me sad because for 13 years, I got used to sleeping with my little fellow. Through it all, Ruff continues to fight the good fight! He is still however, a very sick little boy. If you would like to read more about the journey we've had, his page is here: Emergency Help for Ruff

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    If you’re more of a people person and would like to help a family that’s in need, please check out my good friend Brigitte’s page. She is fighting to save her husband Paul (who is on dialysis) and they need help badly. Paul is also fighting hard to stay alive and Brigitte has been by his side the entire time! They may lose their house so please help them if you can. There page is here: Help the Giunta Family

    God bless you all! XOXO

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