Five fantastic reuses for plastic milk bottles

With their semi-rigid sides & strong handle, plastic milk bottles are very easily reusable – which is useful since there are bajillions generated every day.

We’ve had loads of great suggestions about them over the years but here are some of my favourites:

1. Pencil sorter
Mentioned as a featured link a few weeks ago, I love how neat and practical these containers are for coloured pencils/pens. Stored on a shelf, the lids could be painted the colour of the pencils to make for easy identification.

2. Paint caddy
One close to my heart at the moment because we’re decorating – plastic milk jugs make great paint caddies. 4 pint/half-gallon/2ltr bottles are best for this – cut out the panel of plastic opposite the handle, leave the neck intact for strength and cut down to about half way. The handle is easy to hold (or you could loop some wire/string around it to hang it from a ladder rung) and the caddy holds about 2 pints/1ltr of paint at a time – enough to do a fair amount of painting.

3. Foraging container
SandyM’s family use gallon milk bottles as foraging containers – widen the neck and add a loop of rope or a strong belt through the handle holds it up, leaving both hands free for collecting fruit. In the UK, our bottles tend to be long & thin, so possibly the wrong shape for this – but a great idea if you can get hold of those bigger square bottles.

4. Bird feeder
One of the original ideas for reusing them – make them into bird feeders. The how-to uses gallon jugs but the same theory can be applied to smaller ones too – I’ve made mini ones for our mini-tree from 1ltr/2pint bottles.

(I’ve also used a plastic milk bottle as a grit hopper for our chickens – same principle as the bird feeder but with stones/shells instead of food. It would be a cruel joke if they didn’t need the grit for digestion.)

5. Scoops
Cut away a wedge from the bottom to make it into a scoop – for scooping flour/grain/animal feed or other dry goods, or at the other end, as a pet poop scoop. Leave the lid on to avoid spills from the other end.

What are your favourite reuses for plastic milk bottles?

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5 Responses to “Five fantastic reuses for plastic milk bottles”

  1. Erik Franz says:

    I like this idea of taking empty milk containers and then using them as pencil holders or for the art supplies. I used to live in the south of the USA and saw lots of homes using the empty milk bottles as bird feeders. I’ve also used cardboard boxes for art supply containers. I got the idea from Keep up the good work!

  2. says:

    Splendid- at last a fellow user of milk containers.My family are trained to ask if I need the latest recruit before it goes in the recycling bin.I have strategically placed water -filled containers around the garden for watering;top halves used as funnels;bottom halves used for storage of screws nails etc.particularly seed packets as 4 pinters are exactly the right shape &size; soap-dish; jug; the list is endless. 6 pinters are particularly prized as they can be split length-ways,remove handle end & use as an adjustable tray for oblong planters. Lids are still in use under our fridge in order to move it without ruining the flooring-they fit perfectly.If we have to have plastic milk containers,let’s make use of them!

  3. Stephanie C says:

    Where I am from in Ohio there is a farm that has a giant snowman made out of milk jugs and lights. I am not sure how it is put together, but it is beautiful to see at Christmas. The last time I was home they also had 2 giant candy canes made the same way.

    • Krystal Corley says:

      Can you send a picture of the giant snowman? I would love to see it! We are looking for a recycled project for our family! Thanks~ Krystal

  4. Jimmy Robinson says:

    Here is a PhotoShow on how milk cartons can be used in the garden. Your opinion would be valued

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