A great way to store things without spending a lot of money is to use the tubs that butter or cookie dough comes in. When the butter is all used up, I microwave the container for 30 seconds to melt away all the leftover butter, then wash it, and store it in the cabinet just like Tupperware. They work wonderfully as mixing bowls or for leftover dinner; even for things like sugar and flour. They can be used outside the kitchen for things like kid's small toys, crayons, or office supplies. The possibilities are endless with these containers. Saves us a lot of money and they are dishwasher safe.
By Marcia from Herington, KS
I applaud you in reusing your plastics but please read the following information about plastics and the link regarding food safety tips at the bottom about reusing again for food or beverages and especially if microwaved just one time. The information is an eye opener!
It's best to reuse those containers for crafts, storage, planting seedlings, etc :-)
Safest Plastics for You and the Environment:
#1 Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) containers are recyclable and generally considered the safest single-use plastic-bottle choice. But they are best not reused because studies indicate that after repeated use, porous PET containers may start to absorb bacteria and flavors or leach the heavy metal antimony (an eye, skin and lung irritant at high doses).
#2 High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is both durable and accepted by most curbside recycling programs. Alas, few reusable #2 containers are available.
#4 Low-density polyethylene (LDPE), like its cousin HDPE, is a food-safe plastic, mostly used to make food wraps and plastic bags.
#5 Polypropylene (PP), though less recyclable, has not been shown to leach any carcinogens or endocrine disruptors. Readily available in reusable containers.
Plastics to Use with Caution
#7 Other is a catchall category used for any plastic invented after 1987. The most problematic #7 plastic is polycarbonate (see below) but other resins haven't been widely tested for safety. In some cases, they're considered proprietary and the manufactures won't disclose what the exact resin is made from.
Plastics to Avoid
#3 Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) releases carcinogenic dioxins into the environment when manufactured or incinerated and can leach phthalates.
#6 Polystyrene (PS) can leach styrene, a possible human carcinogen.
#7 Polycarbonate plastics, used in clear, rigid sports bottles and some baby bottles, contain bisphenol A, a known hormone disruptor that has recently been linked to a wide variety of health disorders, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, some types of cancer and childhood hyperactivity disorders.
Note on Use: All plastics can leach chemicals under certain conditions. As a rule of thumb, do not subject even the most durable plastic containers to high temperatures (microwave or dishwasher; radiators; hot food or drink; direct sun on hot days). "Microwave-safe" and "microwavable" mean a container probably won't melt in the microwave, but there's no promise that it won't leach chemicals into your food. Do not use any plastic containers that appear old, stained or worn, since bacteria can hide in scratches or scummy films.
And here is a link regarding further safe usage of plastics:
We try to save a variety of plastic food containers. A mid-sized potato salad container, for example, is the perfect size for a batch of egg or tuna salad. smaller containers are good for leftover veggies. This keeps us from not only having usable cereal bowls and such tied up with leftovers, we can send our son away with home-cooked food and not worry about losing a costly commercially-marketed storage container. Also, since hubby now receives Meals on Wheels, I'm trying to save those divided plates. What we can't use can certainly be FreeCycled.
When we eat out, I nearly always bring home a to-go box, since restaurant servings are too big. I can nearly always get two more meals out of it. If I get a nice one, I wash and save it. Our church has a lot of potlucks and a large to-go box will hold quite a bit. That way I don't worry about taking a dish and losing it. I recycle the ones I can't use.
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Save those yogurt, pudding, and gelatin containers! They're great for holding beads, screws, nails, or just about any small items you don't want to lose; for mixing ingredients or paint; for holding dips and sauce; and even for starting plants if you punch a drainage hole on the bottom of the container.
By Angela from Sault Ste Marie, ON
Another good "storage" idea, babyfood jars! (05/01/2008)
Love those baby food jars, I give the food to the cat and dog and there is my treasure jar :}
Tuna cans are handy also. (05/02/2008)
I use them for leftovers. they can even take freezing, and I don't have to buy the high-priced stuff. I know they are safe for food because that's what came in them. (05/05/2008)