These are invaluable for all kinds of things, but a hot pad was the one I thought was the most useful at the time. They are also great for under planters, draining bacon and sausage on with a paper towel or two, spoon and utensil rests when making multiple meals, and so much more.
Source: My own need to keep the counters safe and clean.
By Poor But Proud from Salem OR
I have talked to several butchers about reusing the plastic meat trays and they all told me the same thing, do not use for anything. The bacteria will remain in these containers even if you bleach them out.
My son is a meat cutter and he says do not reuse them trays for food even after you wash and bleach them. If you feel you need to use them ask your local meat cutter if you can buy some new ones.
I like your ideas, PoorButProud :-) As for using the meat trays for pizza cooling or other hot food items resting on them, it seems to me the bacteria issue is easily rectified by placing foil on it first ;-) It's hard to tell in the picture but it appears the original cardboard round is under the pizza and I think that would probably be safe, too :-)
You may want to think twice about using styrofoam for any food you may consume that is hot or otherwise heated. I have a friend who is a MD and she highly advises not using styrofoam for anything that causes the styrofoam to get hot, as it leaches out toxins when heated and has been questioned to have health concerns. I never use styrofoam to heat anything in the microwave.
I treat my two cats, Mr Muffin Man and Klein Katjie, to joghurt once a week. I use the styrofoam trays from vegetables and fruit for this and then just throw them away. But trays that had raw meat on them? I just throw them sway once I've used the meat; too afraid of bacteria.
Ok everyone. I get it. You don't want to use these trays for food. However, most of the things I was suggesting was non food, and I am not that afraid of meat that was on three layers of plastic and just put in the tray that morning.
I did suggest many things that they can be used for and if you notice, they are upside down. The bottoms can't be dangerous can they?
I put on here that I use an art sponge for an exfoliater, and one person sent in a response that was literally 21 paragraphs long!
I don't even know how this all got started, as I didn't request anything. But, I hope if anyone else responds, it's with some "NONE FOOD" ideas, please. Poor But Proud
Do not ever use those trays. You can get salmonella poisoning. If you want to recycle Styrofoam trays use the ones that you get veggies or other food products in instead. Please throw away the meat trays. I know it is hard for us green people but we do have to think about our health as well as the health of others around us. Peace!
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I'm looking for interesting uses for everyday objects like foam meat trays.
Gloria from California
I've been told to be careful reusing styrofoam meat trays -- they could hold in bacteria and be passed on. Better to be safe, and throw the meat trays out and save the ones from pastries and baked goods instead. (10/12/2005)
Insulation... you check to see if you have cold air coming in around your outside wall electric light switches and electric plugins, if there is air coming in, you take the cleaned and dry meat trays and cut a piece that will fit the electric switch plate or the plugin plate and place it behind it to seal out the cold air. This will help save on your heating bill. (10/12/2005)
My kids used to use clean and dry trays to make Christmas tree decorations. (10/12/2005)
I have used mine for snack trays just like you do paper plates. I always clean them in water and bleach before it use them and have never had any problems. (10/13/2005)
I used to do a lot of decorative tole painting and I used the foam trays as palettes for my paints. I could put quite a few colors on one tray and then all I had to do for clean up was to throw them away. (10/13/2005)
Use them to go under seedling trays in the spring that way if your trays leek there is no mess, that came from me mother in law. (10/13/2005)
Teachers usually love these trays, they use them for painting projects, sorting small items for crafts, math, whatever. Classroom teachers as well as art teachers might appreciate a donation. Be sure they are washed well & bleached. I put mine through the dishwasher if I need to reuse them for such things. Better yet is the tip of saving trays from veggies & pastries only. (10/13/2005)
Find some that are the right size & put them in the bottom of your refrigerator's drawers. If you have anything in the drawer that leaks you might be able to lift out just the tray instead of removing the entire drawer to clean the mess. (10/13/2005)
You can make dimensional pictures: Make several photocopies of your picture. Cut out sections of foreground, mid ground, background. Glue pieces of foam tray between the layers of your picture to add dimension. Frame the result. (10/28/2005)
I have saved several different colors and sizes of foam meat trays. They have been washed and bleached. Does anyone know of any crafts for kids that these could be used for? I have a four-year-old grandson and would love to find a fun craft for him to make.
Mara from Anchorage, AK
I usually find most of my craft ideas from familyfun.com, parenting.com, nickjr.com, crayola.com, about.com, beliefnet.com, and lots more. Those usually have ideas for styro foam or any thing that we would usually toss out or recycle.
I usually let my kids put paint in them, saves my dishes. Also you can cut out the center and make really cool picture frames. :) Good luck and have fun. (06/07/2007)
By Jessica From INDIANA
I saw on a craft show they made stamps to stamp ink with using the meat trays. You can either cut the foam into simple shapes like hearts and stars etc or cut out a rectangle and then using a pencil create a design. Seemed like they either glued an empty thread bobbin to the back or made a handle loop with masking tape to help pick up with.
Ideas for reusing styrofoam trays that come with many cuts of meat. Post your ideas!