Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council

21 Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Milk Jugs and Cartons

On America Recycles Day, which is observed on November 15, we started thinking about what to do with all those milk jugs and cartons after they’re empty. Of course you can simply wash them out and deposit them in a recycling bin or at a recycling center. But you can also upcycle, or create a new use for your empty jugs and cartons, with some of these fun and useful possibilities:

MILK JUG CRAFTS

LIGHTS
lanterns, what a bright idea
indoor chandeliers
outdoor chandeliers

WATERING JUG
 keep your plants happy and well watered with this easy project

KITCHEN COMPOST HOLDER
use empty jugs to upcycle food scraps into compost

SCOOP
 here’s one of many ways to turn your used jug into a handy scoop

GARDENING MADE EASY
sow your seeds

grow an herb garden
start a mini greenhouse

BIRD FEEDERS
 functional
 fashionable, this is for the birds … literally

SUPPLIES CADDY
 here’s a helpful little caddy for your school, desk or craft supplies

FUN GAMES
 play a game of catch with yourself
 or with a friend

PIGGY BANK
start saving money by making a piggy bank instead of buying one

ARTS AND CRAFTS
 explore your crafty side with fun projects like this igloo
 a storm trooper helmet
 a skeleton
 or a gift basket

MILK CARTON CRAFTS

GINGERBREAD HOUSE
 ‘tis the season to make some fun gingerbread houses

ICE BLOCKS
freezing your own ice blocks is very cool, indeed

PLANTER
make yourself a mini box garden

BIRDHOUSE FEEDER
 it’s a house and feeder – one stop shopping for birds

FLOWER VASE
whether as a stylish vase
or centerpiece, who knew old milk cartons could look this good?

PAINT POTS
keep these paint pots in mind for your home improvement project or your kid’s next masterpiece

DESKTOP SUPPLY HOLDERS
cut the cartons, then cut the clutter with these handy holders

WALLET/COIN PURSE
 
if you can make wallets out of duct tape, why not milk carton wallets?

TOY CRAFTS
have some fun making these toys, from trucks
 to building blocks

CANDLES
this bright idea upcycles cartons and crayons into candles

Last but not least, here’s one bonus idea that can utilize milk cartons, jugs or both. Start collecting cartons and jugs now to participate in the 2017 Royal Rosarians Milk Carton Boat Race on June 25. Each jug supports approximately 8 pounds, while sealed cartons support 4 pounds. Here’s a short video showing how to build your own boat.

NOTE: The links in this article are shared for informational purposes only and are not affiliated with the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.