Skip to main content

10 Ideas for Recycling Plastic, Tin, and Cardboard Containers for Reuse at Home

I love to share the experience I have gained over three quarters of a century, be it useful tips, love, jokes or technology.

Using an old fireguard to protect seedlings from cats and birds.

Using an old fireguard to protect seedlings from cats and birds.

Recycling is one of my passions. I don't know what it is about recycling and finding a use for objects that most people would discard, but I love thinking up new ways to avoid throwing things away. It sometimes drives my family mad, although on occasions I see that they are quite impressed with my efforts.

10 Creative Ideas for Reusing Plastic, Tin, and Cardboard Containers

Plastic, tin, and cardboard containers can be recycled in many different ways. Here are ten examples of things I do to upcycle common household waste items. Below, you'll find photos and instructions for each of the following ideas.

  1. Use old containers as food waste receptacles.
  2. Leave the yogurt lid on your kitchen counter for used teabags.
  3. Paint tall plastic containers to store pens.
  4. Use decorative tissue boxes to wrap fragile gifts.
  5. Use decorative tissue boxes or larger boxes to hold pills and medicines.
  6. Use empty pie tins for plant pot holders/saucers or yogurt pot lids for smaller pots.
  7. Use small plastic bottles to store and dry seeds collected from the garden.
  8. Use plastic fruit containers with holes in the bottom to grow seedlings.
  9. Keep a few large plastic milk containers filled with water in your potting shed to water your seedlings.
  10. Use cereal boxes to make file folders.

1. Use Plastic Food Containers to Hold Food Waste

2. Use Plastic Yogurt Lids to Protect Kitchen Counters

3. Paint Tall Plastic Containers and Use Them to Store Pens

4. Use Decorative Boxes to Wrap and Protect Fragile Gifts

5. Use Decorative Tissue Boxes or Larger Decorated Boxes to Hold Pills and Medicines

Boxes that are already brightly colored make good storage units. Here they are being used to store medicines.

For the larger box shown above, I found an attractive pattern on the internet, printed it onto A4 paper, and then glue several copies round a cardboard box. I have various useful containers of this type around my home, mostly containing medicines, but also some containing CDs.

5. Use Decorative Tissue Boxes or Larger Boxes as Containers

6. Use Lids or Containers as Planter Saucers

7. Use Lidded Plastic Containers to Store Seeds

Various Plain Plastic Boxes

Various Plain Plastic Boxes

8. Use Perforated Plastic Fruit Containers to Grow Seedlings

9. Use Plastic Milk Bottles to Water Seedlings

10. Use Cereal Boxes to Make File Folders

Just cut the upper part of the cereal box to shape it, and then cover it with patterned paper. This gives you the option of choosing colors and designs to match your home decor.

Scroll to Continue

If you would like to know more, read my explanation in detail of How to Make Matching Files.

A cereal box can be reused to make file folders to store important papers.

A cereal box can be reused to make file folders to store important papers.

How Important Is It to You to Keep Things Out of the Waste Tip?

A Video About Recycling Plastic Bottles

Plastic Pill Boxes Painted by Me

Plastic Pill Boxes Painted by Me

© 2016 Diana Grant

Leave a Comment or Your Own Recycling Suggestions Here:

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on January 28, 2019:

Recycling is a subject near and dear to my heart. Growing up in the country we HAD to compost, recycle, and reuse. I was pleased to see the cereal box files on your page as this is the system my husband uses to keep his papers and magazines in order. Going green really is easy.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on January 29, 2018:

Great tips. I recycle things for my garden when I am in my Philippines garden. Thanks for sharing. I will surely do what I can to avoid waste.

Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on September 25, 2017:

Thanks for the great ideas! I especially like the container you're using to grow seedlings. I will try this next spring.

Andria Perry from Anniston, Alabama on September 23, 2016:

I do a couple of these already, great tips!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on September 23, 2016:

I love these innovative ideas for reusing common items. Some of the plastic containers are just too good to throw into the recycling barrel. I like using the orange juice jugs for mixing dry powder drinks and cardboard egg cartons for starting seedlings.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on September 12, 2016:

Great ideas.

Related Articles