How can I reuse or recycle plastic salad tubs?

Next up in our lunch-themed week…

Like clear plastic muffin/cake boxes, plastic clamshell-ish tubs from salad bars or pre-packed pastas/salads are frustrating – they’re *almost* strong enough and *almost* resealable enough to be reused but not quite.

As with many things of this nature, it’s best to just avoid them when possible so you don’t have to worry about disposing of the tub afterwards – but if you do pick one up, what can you do with it?

I believe most of them are plastic identification number 5 so can be recycled in some places. They can also be used as mini-greenhouses/cloches for very small seedlings.

Any other suggestions?

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6 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle plastic salad tubs?”


  1. Kara says:

    Most of the ones around here are no. 6 plastic, which can be used as shrink plastic in craft projects! The no. 5 plastic melts nicely at 130 – 168 C (266 – 334 F) and softens for shaping at 40 – 148 C (110 – 298 F), but it definitely lets off some undesirable gases as it approaches melting so be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.

    If they are the clear ones, they’re great for storing and sorting things that don’t need an airtight seal. We have used them for everything from leftover hardware to manicure kits for a party.

  2. roger says:

    Bento boxes?

  3. Although I do avoid purchasing items that come in these types of containers, I tend to accumulate a small number due to family members and roommates buying supermarket ready-to-eat food.

    Children can use them as temporary terrariums for bugs and small creatures. Just remember to set all living things free after observation.

    The smaller containers, for example, the muffin or cupcake-sized ones, and plastic trays — egg cartons, biscuit trays and muffin trays — can be used as paint palettes.

    I have also reused such containers as temporary pet food and water bowls, picnic plates/bowls, craft sorters and key/coin holders before turning them in for recycling at the end of their useful lives.

  4. Joy Lagdameo says:

    I love the idea for little greenhouses!!! I am planning on doing some container gardens this spring and that will work perfectly for my seedlings.

  5. Duja says:

    You can easily make things from them, this site uses spoons to make flowers that should help you get ideas, and I bet she could help you understand how it was made :)
    http://magicallyrecycled.wordpress.com/

  6. supergeeky says:

    I tend to use them to take foods for potlucks, food storage for my fridge or pantry or storage for other various things



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