Tuesday, November 6, 2012

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - Milk Carton Uses

      So many people don't stop to realize that, not only are they paying lots of money for that product they are using, but they are also paying quite a bit of money for the package that it is in. Sometimes, more of what we spend on an item may actually go for the packaging than for what is in it!

Most people use up a product, then toss the packaging in the trash without giving it a second thought. But what if I took you to the store, had you purchase a shopping cart full of just packaging, such as boxes, nice glass bottles, plastic containers with tight fitting snap on lids, etc.... you paid for them all, then I took you over to the dumpster and said, "Now toss them all in the trash!"  You would think I was nuts, wouldn't you? Well, I think some people are nuts for throwing away some of the packaging they throw away. For a better perspective of what portion of a product you are spending on your packaging, a visit to Uline might help. Go through their prices, add up a weeks worth of packaging that you would normally toss, and see how much money you are literally throwing into the trash each week. 

There are many ways to save money on packaging, and I will get to some more of those in later posts, but today, I am going to be talking about repurposing some of those packages, namely, milk jugs. That is a lot of good, sturdy plastic to be throwing away! I have somewhat of a system I use for re-purposing mine. I start by rinsing mine out really well.

Their first purpose is as water jugs. Periodically, I have to haul quite a bit of water here and there around the farm (especially during this past year's drought), so they get a lot of use as water jugs. Once they spring a leak, they have other uses.

I then cut the jugs in half through their middle (jug standing upright, horizontal cut through the middle). If the leak is in the top portion of the carton and the bottom is still in tact, the bottom gets used to put under plants to hold water for them. They sometimes also get used as pet food dishes.  Then the top is set aside to use as a scoop. For scooping dry ingredients, it doesn't matter if it has a small leak.

If the leak is in the bottom of the jug, I then use the bottom as a planter, to start veggies in for the garden. Often times I even add additional little drainage holes. The top (without any leaks) then makes a great funnel with the lid taken off.

If I start having too many of these building up, or too many of one half, I cut them into strips. I write on these strips with permanent marker and use them to label my garden plants and herbs.

There are so many uses for empty, plastic milk cartons that I couldn't even begin to list them all here, but we would love it if you would share in the comments, your ideas for recycling/re-purposing plastic milk jugs. This also includes plastic gallon water jugs, as well, and any other plastic gallon jugs. Oh, yes, sometimes I pour up my homemade liquid laundry soap into them.  The reuses are endless! Of course, they could also be completely eliminated by raising our own milk.

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