How can I reuse or recycle yoghurt pots?

Yogurt potI do astound myself sometimes: we’ve featured over 300 items on the site so far, from the common place to the less common and the downright weird, but we’ve not yet covered yogurt pots.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t eat the stuff (it’s too closely connected with fruit in my mind and fruit = ick) or perhaps it’s because it’s one of those things that seems so ripe for reuse that it seems too obvious to feature it – but aside from plant pots for seedlings or using as a paint pot, I can’t actually think of that much to do with them – particularly the little tiny kids’ ones.

So what do you do with them?

(Photo by LotusHead)

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33 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle yoghurt pots?”

  1. Delusion says:

    I use old yoghurt pots for candle moulds. You need to check as different ones can have different levels of heat resistance and you dont want any melting when you pour wax into them!

    You could also use them as drawer organisers for paperclips / rubberbands etc

    Or if you are doing any DIY, keep nails and screws in separate ones for easy organisation.

    They could also be used by children for separating coins in a way to get them to save.

  2. Emily says:

    The larger / taller kind can be decorated and used as pen holders.

    Another idea (not tested!)… how about using them to make mini sandcastles.

  3. Shabnam says:

    In a French book by MArtine Camillieri who is specialised in making new objects with waste…she made a fantastic string of lights:
    she cupped each x-mas light with a different colored yogurt pot, cutting the edge off or in an oringal shape.

    Very nice result.

    Otherwise, to avoid yogurt pots…make your own yogurt: its very easy and much tastier, and cheaper!

  4. les says:

    Because of the wide lip they can be staple to a shelf in the workshop to hold odds and ends. The kids use them to hold their playdough – just cover with cling wrap.

    They can also be used in the freezer for small quantities = again cover with cling wrap

  5. Veshengro says:

    For the gardeners amongst us they are just right for starting seeds in. All they need is a couple of small drain holes in the bottom and bingo…

  6. Becky says:

    use it to pour paint in it while painting

  7. jgodsey says:

    you can use them to start seedlings, but then after they have done that a few times you need to actually recycle them.

  8. Andy says:

    My dad uses them to stand free standing shelving in, filled with water, they act as a nateral water barrier so your precious seedlings in the garden are protected from hungry slugs and snails.

  9. anon says:

    Another option to avoid having the little yogurt pots in the first place is to buy yogurt in larger containers; these containers are more easily useful. You could then use little reuseable containers for portable kid-size servings if necessary.

  10. John says:

    Check you local recycling facilty, some schemes are starting to accept lower grade plastics. I suppose it depends what end market the plastic recycling plant has.

  11. Jordyn RRR says:

    Well for me & my dogs, we carry food & water in them when we go on trips.
    Just put your food or water and cover them in cling wrap!

  12. Jordyn RRR says:

    we put food in them for our dogs.

  13. Bree says:

    Use as little pots, just paint or cover with fabric and poke some holes in the bottom.

  14. kim says:

    Why not fill the little cups with jello?? Or pudding??? Or make popcycles out of them….

  15. claire says:

    I saw a funky hanging lamp on made out of pudding cups that were roughly the same shape.

  16. Sara says:

    I buy Preserve toothbrushes and razors online from the US company Recycline. All of their products are made from recycled yogurt cups! If you have Stonyfield Farm yogurt cups you can even post it to them and they will make them into products.

  17. Ken Davies says:

    I just cannot believe that the plastic used for yoghurt pots cannot be recycled. We use around 14 a week minimum. They make an interesting tower, but there is a limit to the number needed for paint, nails etc. They just pile up, and are not degradable. Millions must end up in landfill each year. Same goes for margarine and butter containers. Are there no technicians who can come up with an invention here?
    Worried Ken

  18. Ruti says:

    Schools can also use them pretty easily- a whole class growing cress or sunflowers or beans takes up 30 at a time,not to mention junk crafting.

    Actually you can also boil then in water (the round sturdy type)and flatten them to make key rings, which is cool because the writing wraps round.

  19. Roxi says:

    I have been wondering what I can use a big yogurt can for, like anon mentioned earlier. I can’t seem to find anything that I need storing in a container like that, so does anyone have any ideas?

    • Jon Elsen-Carter says:

      I use the big pots with the plastic lids to store leftover meals in, to put into the freezer. One of those 500g pots more or less holds sweet and sour pork for two or a home-made curry for two… possibilites are endless. The small ones I use to freeze home-made fruit sauces or one person portions of fruit from my garden. Cover them with a double layered piece of foil and a double layered piece of clingfilm and hold in position with an elastic band….

  20. Shorty says:

    There’s this program that uses the small ones to start seeds, so it works for me because I kill plants, not grow them. =C
    Medium ones with lids, cut a little X on the edge of the top of the lid, and boom, it’s a sippy cup. Little ones with lids are good for freezing individual spaghetti sauce portions or portions for fussy kids who never eat. It’s usually cheaper to buy everything in quart size, and use the big tubs to freeze leftovers. I buy a huge margarine tub and a small one, then use the big tub to fill the small one repeatedly. I’m trying to think up ways to use the ones with foil lids that have no proper lids, perhaps a tea set? Little yogurt pots with little plastic strips cut, bent, and superglued to make handles. The oddly-shaped yoplait containers with the lip cut off, and melted with a hot spoon to make a spout. The freakishly huge margarine tub turned over having its bottom cut off (will be used as little platters for the cups), then having its lid superglued to the lip. The only problem is making a spout for the big margarine tub.

  21. Jon Elsen-Carter says:

    This is perhaps a very ‘thinking outside of the box’ idea: Councils accept PET and type 1 and 2 plastics (they are always telling us that the UK can only recycle these three). Why can’t manufacturers in the UK and, indeed, food manufacturers of other nations in Europe, who export yoghurts or any other products in plastic pots, use PET or type 1 and / or 2 plastics. We would not have this problem. Councils could then not reject the recyclables, as they would then be of the type that is accepted.

    Also, why are we letting in products that have packaging of a type we don’t recycle in the UK. Better still, a message to all potential entrepreneurs out there: Come up with a way to recycle all plastic packaging….

  22. If you live within 10 miles of Lewes in East Sussex, or travel through there to other destinations, you can take them to a bank at the Inland Revenue office in Mountfield Road, Lewes, BN7. They also take margarine pots and plastic trays of all plastic kind. Head for the railway station, then standing in front of it, looking out, turn left and then next left, that’s Mountfield Road. More details on

  23. Piper says:

    Have you heard of upcycling?
    TerraCycle, a London-based company, has partnered with Danone to collect your yogurt pots (regardless of brand!) for upcycling, all while donating money to the school or charity of your choice.

    Once you’re done with your yogurt, instead of throwing them away, put them aside, and when you are happy with the amount you have, print a free Royal Mail shipping label off your account on, drop the box containing the pots in any post office, and let them do the rest!

    For each pot sent back, your TerraCycle account is credited 2p, and twice a year all money collected goes towards the charity or community group of your choice (for eg, the animal shelter down the road, or the local boy scouts). In return, TerraCycle will create new items, such as plant pots, coolers and rubbish bins (made from rubbish!) which will be for sale at major supermarkets next year.

    Sounds like the issue is no more!

  24. We have set up a Yogurt pot recycling facility in Tamworth Staffs – Boomerang Plastics, Apollo, Lichfirld Road Ind Estate. 01827 265800
    We take clean or dirty PS or PP yogurt pots, granulate and hot wash them then feed them back to UK companies to turn in to more plastic products. We are also aiming to help schools & comunities collect their pots & in return get stationary products etc.

  25. Chloe says:

    You might use them for little castles for children, it would be quite amusing for them. (Not Tested!)

  26. Lauren says:

    Cool ideas. I love the TerraCycle one. Will make an account soon. I have a girls craft group and a bunch off small yoghurt pots but no clue what to do with them. Might use them as moulds but other than that, any ideas? Thanks, Lauren Xx

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