Give your milk jugs a second life with one of these upcycling ideas!
If you drink traditional milk, milk jugs are one of those items you’ll constantly having lying around. Luckily, they’re recyclable, but current plastic products often degrade and can only be used once. Many times, pure plastic products are repurposed into other items like fabrics. Your milk jug doesn’t stay a milk jug forever. So a good option is to extend the life of your milk jugs by reusing them around the house. They’re surprisingly versatile and you can use them as substitutes for many more expensive products.
- Homemade scooper This is probably the most common use for empty milk jugs. Just cut the jug in half with a sharp scissors. Slant the cut so the handle remains and the jug forms a scoop shape. Keep the cap on the bottom. It works great for pet food, birdseed, driveway salt, grass seed and anything else that needs a scoop.
- Pool cover weights
Filling your empty milk jugs with water is an easy, cheap way to create an instant weight. Weights can get pretty pricey, so this is a lovely alternative. They’re great for weighing down pool covers. They can also be used to keep tarps in place.
- Cat and dog toys
This one’s easy. Just empty the jug and give to your dog. Your dog will probably carry it and kick it around. Dogs are like small kids: They play with anything. Put beans or beads into the jar for a toy you can use to tease your cat, who will probably swat at it. Also, you can add brightly colored feathers and bangles with tape for extra cat-teasing goodness.
- Homemade maracas
If you have kids who are at the age when they are just learning music and rhythm, you can use milk jugs to make homemade maracas they can play with. It’s bound to be less irritating than pots and pans banging. Like the cat toy, just put some beans in the jug.
- Simple garbage pail
Just cut the top off the jug and you have an instant, small garbage can. You can use it to throw food scraps in to take to the compost pile, throw scraps in while crafting or chuck coffee grounds into it. It’s a great size to just stick on a counter.
- Drip plate under a planter
Cut off the bottom of the jug and place that under a small planter. That will catch any leaking that may happen. You can easy remove the catch and drain when needed.
- Easy cold pack
Here’s another popular use for milk jugs. Add some water to the jug and stick it in the freezer. You can then use it in a cooler to keep drinks and food cold. When it thaws you have some cold water, and it doesn’t soak everything the way lose or bagged ice would.
If you need a cheap planter for getting some spring seedlings going, look no further than a milk jug. You can completely cut the top off and recycle it, or keep the top and put it back on for a homemade terrarium setup.
- Watering can
You can also poke holes in the top of the jug for a watering can. Fill the bottom half with water and pour out of the holes. It even still has a convenient handle.
- Water wings
If you need some cheap water wings, just get some ribbon and tie the empty jugs to your child’s arms. The jug will add instant buoyancy. Again, not very classy, but it does the job.
- Water weights
You can also use the jugs in the pool for water aerobics. Water weights can run unnecessarily expensive, so just get some empty milk jugs and push down into the water for an instant workout.
- Clothespin hanger
Just cut the top off the jug for an easy storage container. Cutting the handle will make a great hook for hanging the jug on a clothesline. You can then store your clothespins in that.
- An easy funnel
It always feels like we never have a decent funnel lying around when we need it. Except that we do. Cut the bottom off a milk jug and turn upside down. Take the cap off and you have an instant funnel.
- Plastic bag holder
Cut a hole in the side of a milk jug and fill it with plastic bags. You’ll have a simple way to contain your bags finally, and they’ll be easy to pull out. The jug’s light color is good for knowing how full your bag container is, as well.
- Bird feeder
The handle on the jug makes it perfect for hanging it from trees. Cut holes near the top and fill with birdseed. Again, it doesn’t have the style of more expensive birdfeeders, but it certainly gets the job done.
- Weight training
Fill your milk jugs with sand and use them for weight training. You’ve essentially just created a low-cost kettle bell. Even better, you can add as much sand as you want to increase or decrease the weight. If you want to go heavier, you could consider denser fillings like cement.
- Emergency water supply
If you live in Hurricane Alley, or just always want to be prepared, keep jugs of tap water in your basement. You’ll have water available for drinking, flushing toilets and washing in case of an emergency. You can even keep one in your car in case of an overheated radiator.
- Plant markers
Plant markers seem to be unnecessarily marked up in price. Cut out some markers from the flat sides of the jugs. You can easily label them with a Sharpie, and the plastic will withstand all weather conditions.
- Cheap, disposable mixing bowl
Cut out the bottom third of the milk jug for a cheap mixing bowl you won’t mind staining. It’s great for mixing dyes.
- Jug catcher game
If you really want to get creative, this idea from Lakeshore will give your kids a fun craft project and an active game all in one go. You can use two milk jugs, some crafter’s tape and some newspaper to make a catch game. Just cut the bottom off each jug, cover with crafter’s tape, ball up the newspaper and secure the newspaper with the tape.