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Recycling Uses With Folgers Coffee Containers, Cans, and Other Household Items

From the time I started recycling back in the 1980’s, I look at garbage in a different light. Rather than throwing things away, I tend to try to find useful things to do with certain items.

From kitty litter buckets to coffee cans, plastic bread bags and more .....

Don't Throw That Container Away - Find A Use For It Today

Sadly I no longer have my cat Rambo, but I still have many of his litter containers that once originally held kitty litter.

  • Since I first started using these as household cleaning buckets, I've never had to buy a pail to go along with my mop.
  • These containers are also very useful in the garden to use as a stool when you are weeding or to hold the weeds until you are ready to dispose of them.
  • For people that purchase flour, sugar, or oats in large quantities, or buy items such as dog/cat food at the bulk food store, these containers can be washed out, sterilized, and used for storage containers.
  • Use them as a compost container in the kitchen under the sink to store everything that you will be putting into your composter.
Litter Bucket

Litter Bucket

Folgers Coffee Can with Built In Handle

Folgers Coffee Can with Built In Handle

Folgers Plastic Coffee Cans

When I first saw one of these cans I thought wow this is great they have a handle built right into them to make life a bit easier when making coffee. Before the can was finished I had my husband asking if he could have it for painting.

Pour your paint into them and carry the can around with you as you are doing touch ups, painting trim or use it outside while painting the exterior of the house. When you are finished you can either put the lid back on or wash it out and use it for your next painting or staining job.



Plastic Yogurt, Margarine, Sour Cream, Feta Cheese Containers

All of these make great storage containers for leftovers for your refrigerator. Have a small portion of spaghetti left from dinner that you don’t want to throw away. Store it in one of these containers, take it to work for lunch and re-heat it in the microwave. Small portions of leftover salad fit quite nicely into a margarine container. If the container is thick enough you can also use it in your freezer to store leftovers.

Next time you are planning on making a punch, freeze water in a plastic food container to use as a large ice cube.

Other Useful Ideas - Recycle Reuse

Save bubble wrap, peanut packaging and plastic bags to reuse when sending packages through the mail or for packing away fragile items.

Of course there's always the fun of popping the little air bags in the bubble wrap.

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Plastic Bread Bags

Plastic Bread Bags


Newspapers are great for packing and for washing your windows.

If you are ever out of paper towels and want to clean mirrors or windows fold the newspaper over and crumple it. Spray on your cleaner and wipe just like you would with paper towels. It may look streaky at first but then the streaks will disappear.

Plastic Bread Bags & Shoe Boxes

Plastic bread bags can come in useful when you need a large bag for that turkey carcass you want to save to make soup or for leftovers you want to store in your refrigerator. They are also great when you want to empty a roasting pan that is full of grease that you don't want to put down your sink.

Shoe and boot boxes can be quite useful when it comes to Christmas or other gift giving occasions where a box is needed.

Used Clothing

For all used clothing Goodwill, The Salvation Army, churches and your local thrift shops will be more than happy to take all donations.

Ontario Recycle

© 2011 Susan Zutautas

What do you do to recycle?

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 19, 2011:

Kris, That's a great idea to have a place where others can go to pick up these items. Unfortunately here we can only take ours to the dump or put them out on the curb in a blue box (recycling box) for the garbage men to pick up.

Kris Heeter from Indiana on December 18, 2011:

Great ideas! I always try to recycle or reuse when possible. Thankfully our local recycling center has a "reuse" area to put things like coffee cans, yogurt containers, etc. It's a great place for teachers and other groups to stop by and pick up items they can reuse for projects or crafts.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 17, 2011:

Victoria, Yes the newspapers do work but if you try this you may want to wear gloves as to not get the newsprint on your hands. It's great in a pinch when you run out of paper towels.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on October 16, 2011:

Great hub. I, too, reuse litter buckets. I also use the coffee cans for storing different things in the garage. Do newspapers really work well on windows? That's a great idea. I have a hub about cutting down on common household items, but I do use paper towels on windows. Time to cut that out, I think! Great stuff. Lots of votes on this one!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 15, 2011:

Aceblogs, Thanks for sharing how you recycle. Beer bottles here in Canada can be returned and are worth ten cents a bottle as well as beer cans. We have to pay this as a deposit when purchasing the beer, so I tend to take them back for the money. I too use the plastic bottles for water.

Welcome to HubPages.

Aceblogs from India on October 15, 2011:

Nice ideas given by you. Would like to share some we use at our place. Well the thermacole that had come to our place in the electronic instruments , i have made my tortoise house with it , the newspepers that come to our place , we donate it to charity house where it is read by the poor chidren who are living in there . The beer bottles are used to plan little plants in it and the plastic bottles of coke and pepsi are used as water bottles in our homes

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 14, 2011:

ktrapp, The plastic Folgers cans just came into Canada not that long ago and I wish they would have been here when my boys were small. Great idea for markers and crayons.

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on October 14, 2011:

I used to use the Folgers plastic containers to store the kids crayons and markers. It was really nice since I used both the red (regular) and green (decaf) containers which made it easy to distinguish the contents without opening.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 14, 2011:

carrie, I use these containers to hold a lot of my stain glass bits and pieces. Glad you liked the hub and thanks for your comments.

carriethomson from United Kingdom on October 14, 2011:

hey that's a nice hub!! these kind of containers can also be used in a craft corner to stack away all the tools and materials!! and i use the news papers as well for cleaning glass ie in windows, table and the car. reusing and recycling is the best thing to do!!


Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 02, 2011:

Daffy, It's a great way to use up those newspapers and save a bit of money on paper towels.

I have a family of 4-5 depending on how many of my sons are living with us. They come and go often. In one week I have about 1 1/2 bags of actual garbage and the rest I am able to recycle.

Glad you like the hub and thanks so much for all your comments.

Daffy Duck from Cornelius, Oregon on October 01, 2011:

I never thought of using newspapers for washing windows. Then again I wash windows once every 2-3 years.

I like to use coffee cans to hold change. I alsio have a small wastebasket for garbage and I use plastic bags from the grocery store (without holes) for garbage bags.

One thing I've noticed about recycling is that most of what I used to throw away can go into the recycle bins. Anything from an empty toilet paper rool to plastic bags from the grocery store and everything else (practically).

I live by myself and have, on average, 1 bag of trash to take out every week..

Love the hub! :)

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 29, 2011:

weestro, Great way to re-use planks. Thanks so much for your comments.

Pete Fanning from Virginia on September 28, 2011:

This is a great hub with many good ideas, you always find a new life for something around the house. I put new planks on my picnic table and used the old ones for a garden bed.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 28, 2011:

Cloverleaf, I have even been known to wrap Christmas presents in boxes such as Milk Bone (dog cookies), and cereal boxes when I get desperate enough :) Thanks for your comments and your vote.

felicitylovespari, Thanks so much for your comments.

felicitylovespari on September 28, 2011:

Both up and useful. Always important to save whatever you an. In this consumer-istic (I know that isn't a word) society with the western world consuming 5 times more goods than many of the poorer countries, it seems we are always buying things we don't need and eventually tossing. Recycling is vital!

Louise from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 27, 2011:

Hi Susan, I often use old shoe boxes for packaging Christmas or birthday gifts that need to go in the mail. I also donate, recycle or reuse my old shoes...a pair of old shoes is a real gift to anyone who is not fortunate enough to own shoes. Thanks for sharing all your great ideas, voting up!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 27, 2011:

Gordon, Thanks for the great comments. That's a lot of bins. We have a blue box and a couple of compost and yard waste bins. True this might make a good weekly topic, not sure if it has been done yet or not.

Gordon Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on September 26, 2011:

Love your ideas Susan and hope that a great many people take heed. Recycling your way would also save me from perpetually trying to work out which items go in which bin! Here, we have a blue bin, a green bin, a black bin and a brown bin - all for different types of waste - and we still have to arrange to dispose of our own glassware! :)

It is so sad that some people take a negative attitude to the concept of recycling, when there is of course so much we can still do to save our planet from the damage which we have not only inflicted upon it in the past but remain capable of inflicting upon it in the future.

Wouldn't the precise subject of your Hub make an excellent Weekly Topic of Inspiration...??? :)

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 26, 2011:

barbergirl, My dad too used jars for screws, nails, nuts and bolts in his garage. He had baby food jars used in the same way on a board. His garage was so organized compared to what mine looks like :)

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on September 26, 2011:

My Dad got me on this little hitch. Save all your peanut butter jars. When they are done, wash them out and then put a screw through the lid onto the bottom of a shelf. You can then put items in there (he used to put nails and such) and then screw the jar onto it. They are nicely displayed and kept out of the way! Yet, you never lose those small little items!!

Great hub, BTW

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 26, 2011:

Tina, Thanks so much.

Christina Lornemark from Sweden on September 26, 2011:

Very useful hub Susan with great tips on useful things that can be used in another way! I also reuse plastic containers, both inside the house and outside in the garden. Shoeboxes are a favourite too! But the small plastic containers are news for me, I have never thought about using them. I love this hub, there is always something new to learn:) Voted up!


Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 26, 2011:

Dave, I appreciate your comments and thoughts on this subject.

ExpertMommy, I would love to see how these bags are made. Sounds very cool.

ExpertMommy from The Milky Way on September 26, 2011:

I like this post and you are right, there are many ways to recycle the things we normally throw. I have a friend who knows how to knit from plastic bags so I hand mine over to her every now and then. She made me a really cool bag for the park. Perfect when I go with the kids and things spill.

Dave Mathews from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA on September 26, 2011:

So sorry Susan, but when it comes to recycling, I'm afraid such words fall upon deaf ears as far as I'm concerned. The damage is done and hardly anyone is doing anything to improve the situation global warming continues, the polar ice cap keeps melting, the forests are still being depleted, and oil and gas is still being pumped out of the ground at an alarming rate with no end in site until we run out.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 26, 2011:

RH, I used to line my garbage cans with the plastic grocery bags too. But tend to use those sparingly now as the stores in Ontario now charge us 5 cents per bag to encourage us to re-use the grocery bags or bring in our own.

DzyMsLizzy, I used to sell Tupperware and had so much of it. But over the years between not getting the Tupperware back from lunches and sending food home with people my Tupperware has depleted.

Thanks so much for your comments.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on September 25, 2011:

When I was a kid, my mother saved glass jars, like mayonnaise and such to store leftovers. That was before "Tupperware" hit the scene.

I don't save much of the plastic containers, because I am the "Tupperware Queen." LOL But, our garbage company does have recycling, so at least I'm not putting them in the landfill.

I do save some of them for crafting, paint mixing, and the lids are great on a tile paint palette, for covering your colors to keep them from drying out when you take a break.

Voted up!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 25, 2011:

drbj, Queen of Recycling that is quite an honor thank you so much lol :) If you are ever out of paper towels and want to clean mirrors or windows fold the newspaper over and crumple it. Spray on your cleaner and wipe just like you would with paper towels. It may look streaky at first but then the streaks will disappear.

dilipchandra, Thanks glad you found the hub useful.

Cardisa, Mini Hoarder oh no! I see a new TV Show about to be made. The Mini Hoarders of Recycling. :)

Ruby, We use these cans now all the time when we paint. They sure work great.

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on September 25, 2011:

I do many of these things too....I also use the filters containers to store grease or pitch garbage I don't want to smell in the big can. I use the plastic grocery store bags to line the bathroom trash cans. Great ideas - I'll have to start saving my bubble wrap!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on September 25, 2011:

Susan, This is great. I especially like the coffee can idea for painting. I will never throw one away again. I love the little Kitten picture. Thank's.......

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 25, 2011:

James, The kitten is cute. Good point about the bread bags. Thanks so much for your comments and hope that you are having a good weekend.

NMLady, Good point about the plastic. I only use these if they are thick for the microwave. Thanks so much.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 25, 2011:

marellen, Thanks so much and glad to hear that you too recycle.

Stephanie, I send leftovers home with people too and like you say it's nice not having to worry about getting the containers back. Thanks so much for reading and for your comments.

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on September 25, 2011:

I too use containers for other stuff, as a matter of fact I might be considered mini-hoarder. I hate throwing things away!

Dilip Chandra from India on September 24, 2011:

Queen of Recycling...!!! lol... Good hub Susan, you have gathered some useful tips. Thanks for sharing :)

drbj and sherry from south Florida on September 24, 2011:

I hereby nominate you, Susan, as the Queen of Recycling. These are great ideas. Just one thing. What did you mean by washing windows with newspapers? I use them for packing but washing windows? That's news to me.

NMLady from New Mexico & Arizona on September 24, 2011:

Be careful of the cheap plastic used in containers. It can degrade and get into your food. The human body doesn't handle ingested plastic very well. You might check out what Dr. Weil says about this. Assuming the plastic cos. haven't threatened him and he removed the article like he had to do on his sustainable fish to eat list.

Oh voted up for the info!

James W. Nelson from eastern North Dakota on September 24, 2011:

It looked to me that the little kitten was going to have some really fun stuff to play in, and for that reason I will keep it in mind. Also, and you probably know this, never turn your bread bags inside out, as then the printing is inside, which might be a little toxic. I read that once.

Good hub Susan. Thank you

Stephanie Henkel from USA on September 24, 2011:

I like to reuse plastic containers, too, and find that containers like yogurt, cottage cheese and Cool Whip containers are great not only for storing leftovers, but for sending a "doggie bag" home with the kids. I don't ever have to worry about getting the container back! Those small, clear margerine containers are great for storing small items like buttons, beads or small craft items, too. These are good ideas to recycle everyday items!

marellen on September 24, 2011:

Susan you have some wonderful reusable ideas but if I saved everythng I would need to rent another apartment. I just don't have the room to save everything but I do recycle and reuse what I can. Thanks for the useful tips.

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