Reusing Food Packaging

Category Reusing
A lot of the refuse in this country comes from food packaging, reuse it in creative ways and reduce waste. This is a page about reusing food packaging.
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Despite my husband's concerns that I'm becoming an episode of Hoarders, I like to save the waxed paper bags from cereals and other boxed foods. I use them when I microwave frozen veggies and other small dishes. I just slip the bowl into the waxed bag and fold the excess under the bowl to create a steam bag. I don't need to use any water with the frozen veggies, making them healthier.

And, you can wash them out and use them again. Yes, I said, use them again. Why not? It's only veggie steam that's come in contact with the bag. I just rinse it out with very hot tap water, turn it upside down in the dish-drying rack, and there you go.

I don't like using plastic cling wrap in the microwave, so this is a better alternative. And best of all, it's free and keeps some junk out of the landfills for a while. There are lots of other uses for these bags if you give it some thought.

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Really frugal or really cheap? You decide.

By ~gloria from Western NY

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July 1, 2010

Since I eat cereal for breakfast, I have the wax paper bags left over when the box is empty. This wax paper is just as good as the paper you buy in the roll. I pull the seams of the empty bag apart, smooth the paper, and fold it. When I need wax paper I cut to size. I usually have more paper than I need for kitchen use so I have not bought wax paper in years.

By Lita Swindle from Tampa, FL

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I recently purchased a four pack of tomatoes for $.99 at Canned Food Warehouse. When I got it home, I was headed for the recycling bin when I realized the value of this little container. I can put four balls of crochet thread or yarn inside, and they have been kind enough to even put four holes in the top for me!
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The contents stay pretty safe, easy to transport, convenient, stackable, and I don't have to touch the yarn/thread until I am ready to replace them. The interior dimensions are about 2.9 inches in diameter, so even a tennis ball will fit (according to their website, they are 2.7 inches in diameter so they should fit).

If you are going to a picnic or BBQ, you can use it for apricots, plums, or yes, even more tomatoes. I found this to be a real boon to my crafts, so I am going to buy some more. I hope you get as much use out of them as I have.

I think I have seen them in several stores, in case you don't have this particular store in your area.

By Sandi/Poor But Proud from Coos Bay, OR

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A necklace I made using smashed Nespresso capsules and glass beads.

By Orquidea Pires from Portugal

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July 1, 2009

Don't throw out the plastic trays from cookie and cracker bags! They work great as holders for beads or paper pieces for your crafts, but you can also use them as mini-green houses and flower pots.

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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.

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Make your own cheese and crackers for pennies! needing just a bit of shortening, I came upon a great idea. These Crisco tubes, containing baking sticks, are perfect for 12 crackers and a hunk of cheese.

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You can also use them for veggies, fruit, nuts, and other things you can't eat like meds, change, and so much more.

Reusing Crisco Shortening Packaging

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April 16, 2005

You know those sturdy wooden crates that you buy mandarin oranges in? I paint them, decoupage nice pictures on the sides and use them for storing items in the bathroom. I put it on the counter or on the tank of the toilet.

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Use your kitchen empties to make woven baskets from your recyclable cardboard. Open your box down a seam if possible.

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Cut the sides, flaps or tabs from the two larger main surfaces: front and back.

Recycled Cardboard Basket

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These are 10 oz. containers with recloseable lids. They are dishwasher safe and can be sanitized. I find they are a perfect size for individual meat and gravy servings. Also, meatballs and sauce.

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December 1, 2009

I tend to eat at Wendy's quite a bit because I really like their Southwestern taco salad. I had saved a couple of the plastic dishes/containers to recycle or whatever (they work very well for paint trays).

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They're square and about 8 inches wide.

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Recycle a soda pop cup into a plastic bag keeper. This is an easy recycled craft project for kids and adults. Here is the picture tutorial link with step-by-step instructions.

Recycled Plastic Bag Keeper

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November 21, 2007

My wife buys Dole mandarin oranges for my son. The jars the oranges are packed in are a durable plastic, and the label is the kind that can be easily and completely removed.

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October 28, 2008

Does your glue gun make a mess on your work surface? I wash up the plastic sheet that comes under a pound of bacon and I place it under my glue gun and the drips will peel right off and your work surface will stay clean!

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While shopping for something small to abate my sweet tooth, I stumbled on a Great Value (Walmart brand) frozen snack. They are $.75 in the ice cream treat section. As I was washing the container, I thought of all the cool things I could do with it.

Lunch box with a Good Value container full of dip, one full of eggs, and celery and cauliflower loose in the box

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I reuse bread bags for used kitty litter. The plastic grocery bags are easy to tear, but the bread bags are more durable. I reuse the plastic grocery bags (what few I get) in my bathroom for those smelly items before I put it in the trash.

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Save all your cardboard cartons; milk, cream, half and half, ice cream, etc, I wash them out in warm water, using a dish mop. I invert them on a paper towel and the next day when dry, I keep the top closed from dust, etc with the wide parcel tape until needed.

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You are not supposed to judge products based on packaging alone, but I am easily amused and distracted when products have "nice packaging". I actually purchased a couple clear glass bottles with stoppers at Ikea a few months ago, but you can find the exact concept at Sprouts for their Sparkling Lemonade Lemon - 25.4 oz.

Two reusable glass bottles of sparkling lemonade.

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The children love to eat those Push Up ice cream treats. They are left with these little nifty round discs with a stick attached to it.

Reusing Push Up Handles In Plants

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September 21, 2010

I reuse the long green Velcro straps that are often wrapped around celery when I buy it. I save them to use as ties. I have wrapped Christmas tree light bulbs, extension cords, stacks of Christmas cards, you name it!

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I use the piece of plastic found underneath the bacon in each package. It is flimsy enough to cut with regular scissors, yet strong enough to use many times over.

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April 9, 2012

The plastic bags that cold cereals are packaged in can be cut into large squares and sewn between two pieces of cotton fabric. When finished, these are called "crinkle taggies".

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August 15, 2011

Clean out cardboard containers, like the ones that held food. Cover them with contact or wrapping paper and use them to store leftover pantry food and small items.

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Wash the Lay's Stax brand plastic chip cans, when finished with the chips. Also save your empty milk gallon and/or half gallon jugs. Fill them with water.

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Use waxed boxes for paint palettes. When working with acrylics, you can use a (washed) waxed box such as the ones frozen foods come in, as a palatte.

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Bookmarks: Attractive boxes such as candy boxes can be cut into bookmarks. Use the side panels. You can use a hole punch and put a ribbon through if you'd like.

Ways to Reuse Product Packaging

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After you have finished off your cool, refreshing Wendy's frosty that comes in a clear plastic cup with a clear plastic dome covering. Wash it and reuse in the bathroom for a toothbrush holder.

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I bought some pull-apart bread last week. The tray that is on the bottom is black, but can't be recycled in this state. The center has a ring in the middle, and two other rings larger toward the edges.

Bakery Tray with Crackers and Dip

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I save the bags from empty cereal, they are super to use to take camping to use as bowls, or cereal. When used, fold up to carry home to discard.

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