Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
How can I recycle small Styrofoam ice chests? Medication is delivered in these ice chests once a month and they are really piling up. Inside the ice chests are ice packets that I can't find another use for. Any advise on how to recycle the Styrofoam? Thanks for helping.
Satellite from Gainesville, FL
I also use three in my car to carry groceries home from the store...either frozen or not as it helps keep the items from rolling around the back of my SUV. My husband uses them in his trunk to transport propane tanks when he gets them filled. No tipping over!
There are lots of uses for your containers. I have an idea for the ice packs you said came with them. Slip them into hand sewn bags. Keep them in the freezer for ouch bags. Your grandkids or neighbourhood kids would probably enjoy them. Or sell at your next church bazaar. I keep a couple in my freezer for such emergencies. Adults enjoy them too.
Could a nursing home, women's shelter or homeless shelter have a use for them? Or maybe something like Meals on Wheels?
Styrofoam is a difficult material to recycle, but before you throw those ice chests into the trash, get creative and use them in crafts. This is a page about crafts using styrofoam ice chests.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Have you got kids or grandkids? What about using the chest like fake snowblocks and building a igloo playhouse by using glue for foam to attach them together in the right shape? (07/30/2007)
By Mary Lou
I have used these coolers for years to store my Christmas decoration. Things don't get broken, and I can lift the box from the top shelf in my garage as they aren't too big like the ones you purchase. (07/30/2007)
You could also use them as forms for hypertufa planters :-) hypertufa is just a large word for fake rock looking cement. If you google it, there are many recipes out there and succulents LOVE to grow in this stuff.
If you have family out of state that you mail parcels to, I would think they'd make good containers. They should cushion things well, you could even break a few of them up for stuffing inside.
The local Red Cross might take a few of them to take to house fire locations, etc. If they're large enough to hold a few bottles of water or even just ice water to dampen washcloths in for cooling off it'd be a help (that would even be a good idea when you're outdoors doing yard work or on family outings). If you have local pharmacies that deliver meds they might take a few to keep the deliveries cool while on the road.
The boy scout dens in your area might be interested in some of them for the boys to use on camping trips as individual lunch box coolers. Day cares or kindegarten classes for the same maybe (?).
Can't think of anything else right now, but you never know - more might come later :-) (07/31/2007)
Those cooler make a excellent container to keep your bait in. We fish and use night crawlers, they are lively and happy in the cooler among some bedding and old leaves. The bedding can be purchased at KMart and Walmarts. We collect and sell the earth worms that are stored in those coolers. (08/01/2007)
Just a few more ideas to add to those great ones posted already. Make planters. My friend has several we did and she can lift them to move inside when needed. Protect small plants, cover with cloth or paper and make magazine holders, use as file boxes to store tax papers etc. Disposable paint containers, make bullseye target for the kids, stuff with an old pillow for a quick light weight stool for kids or foot prop, cut out for impromptu doll house, and garage for the little ones. (08/02/2007)
These are great to place in the bottom of a large planter to take up space so you won't have to use so much dirt. They also make wonderful molds for making concrete blocks that look like cobblestones to make into a patio or line a flowerbed. (08/03/2007)
WOW ! These chests saved ALL of my OOPS and spray paint that I couldn't store in the garage. I placed what I could in each one, then placed them on the patio for the winter. They are just great, keep the paint from freezing and stack nicely if you have no children. Because they are white, however, they don't do well outside after a while because they get dusty and dirty, hard to clean. But, when one gets bad, replace it with another.
I think I've stored about 30 gal. of paint, so far, and had hoped to use them all by now, but haven't yet due to illness. I find them all of the time at the curbs of wealthy homes who order the Omaha products. They are so clean and thick that I can't pass them up. Also plan to give them to the church for musical scenery props if they want them. Good luck and God bless you. : ) (02/29/2008)
Believe it or not, there are people like me that actually need styrofoam ice chests to transport food home from the market. I looked on line and found nothing that was thick enough with the tightly fitting lid that would do that job well. Please tell your neighbor to post her ice chest(s) on e-bay and I'll be the first customer! (08/06/2008)
By ms lucy
Tombets91 from Sanford, FL
Right away I thought of a Christmas decoration my son tore up years ago. Use this to get yourself brainstorming. You can easily take fabric and push pins, and cover them to make attractive store boxes, doll stands, or a cute festive scene.
Are they big enough to become lunch boxes? They might also be good worm boxes if there are any fishermen or women in your life. If they'd hold a can or two of soda, they might be good for keeping a soda cool in the car this time of year. If they're big enough for food/drinks; you might contact your local Meals on Wheels and see if they could use them.
Thanks for the great ideas. I love decorating for Christmas, my husband does a lot of fishing and Meals on Wheels is a great idea.
If they are large enough you could use them to bring fish and meat home from the grocery store. Just throw a little ice in before you leave home. With this hot weather food spoils so quickly. Plus, if you get a bit of fish or meat liquid in you won't mind disposing of it. Take care!
We keep some in the trunk of the car for bringing home frozen food. Also, I saw an article awhile back that recommended painting them with antiquing or other paint, poking holes in the bottom, and using them for attractive planters. The ones in the picture gave no hint of their origins. Are they big enough for that?
By Coreen Hart
I use to live in Sanford FL, what a small world. depending on the size of the styrofoam boxes you can make a snowman family. snowmen don't have to be made out of round things. or cover them to make gingerbread houses or easter/haunted houses or easter baskets. Glue and stick pins easily attach almost anything to styrofoam.
By gretta in OK
Why not give them as "happys" to the teens in your family or neighborhood. They could use them when going to the beach for a few cold cokes (if large enough) Or how about new mothers to keep those bottles of formula cool during this hot summer or medicines that must be kept in the 'fridge while they are out shopping etc.
By Mona from Miss.
A creative lady in our community had an over abundance of those little coolers a number of years ago. She covered them, inside and out, top and bottom, with pretty print fabric. The outside would be one print and the inside a coordinating print. She padded the lid with some polyester batting so it looked pretty and puffy and always had some lace or trim of some kind on it. Everything was sewn. There was no glue anywhere. I believe she sewed what she could by machine then finished them out by hand with neat tiny stitches. The fabric fit over the styrofoam very tightly and smoothly. They were beautiful. Women practically fought over them at church bazaars, even tho they were quite expensive! I know I didn't feel that I could afford to buy one! Each completed "box" had a brief letter in it explaining that medication had been delivered in it for this woman's husband who was seriously ill and that making the boxes was therapy for the wife. She asked for prayers for her husband and family. I'm sure the profit made from selling these was helpful to the family because insurance never covers all the additional expenses we have during an illness.
I'm a sucker for pretty boxes and baskets to store/hide things in. My only problem is remembering what I put in those pretty containers! LOL
By Marge Mayhew