New Uses for an Empty Milk Carton

To avoid empty milk cartons building up before recycling day, why not try finding new uses for them around the home and garden?

new uses for empty milk cartons

Plastic milk cartons are easily recycled through kerbside collection schemes, but can be bulky and take up space whilst you wait for them to be collected. To avoid this, why not try finding new uses for old milk cartons around the home and garden?

  • Create a makeshift dust pan or even a litter tray scoop by cutting out a traditional shovel shape around the handle of the empty milk carton. The carton’s sides will help to retain the shape, stopping the contents of the dust pan from spilling out.

  • Make a simple bird feeder by cutting windows out of the four sides of a milk carton, about an inch above its base. Fill the base with dried fruit and bird seed, and suspend the carton from a tree in your garden. Cut a small hole about 1cm below each window and push a piece of wooden doweling through, to make perches for birds to land on, making it easier to access the food inside.

  • An amazingly simple planter can be made by removing the base of an empty milk carton and turning it upside down. Attach to a wooden fence using nails or even a staple gun. Then, simply fill with soil and compost and get planting. The milk lid can be unscrewed to allow water to drain out of the soil. This technique is especially useful when trying to save space with vertical gardening.

  • Another ingenious gardening idea is to drill a series of tiny holes in the lid of the empty milk carton. Fill the carton with water and screw on the lid. With a pour and a gentle squeeze, your carton is now an effective and thrifty watering can.

  • Create your own miniature greenhouses to protect fragile plants from cold weather. Remove the base from an empty milk carton and place over the exposed parts of the plant, pushing the edge of the carton a couple of inches into the ground. If your plant needs ventilation, the carton lid can easily be removed, while the plant is still exposed to the sun and warmth that it needs through the translucent carton.

  • Feed your children’s imaginations by giving them your milk cartons to play with in the garden. Empty milk cartons are inexpensive and light enough to make versatile and safe building blocks for them to use. Try using cartons and a roll of tape to create dens and shelters such as castles or igloos!

  • Empty milk cartons are usually translucent, giving them a subtle glow then lit up. Bring some eerie lighting to your house at Halloween by making ghost lanterns out of your old milk cartons. Just draw or paint on a spooky face and fill the carton with an LED torch or some fairy lights for a spooky lighting display.

  • Cut an empty milk carton in half, just below where the handle begins. The bottom half can be decorated with paints and filled to make a small gift basket. Cut a thin strip of plastic from the remaining section and pin or staple each end to either side of the basket for an attractive and 100% recycled way to give small gifts to a friend.

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