Posts tagged "ice cream tubs"

What food packaging & other household waste do you use for starting seeds?

It’s seed-starting time here in the northern hemisphere and my Twitter feed is full of exciting stories about what fruit & veg people are going to be growing this year. I’ve added half a dozen more fruit bushes to our garden this year but I’ve not sown any seeds yet — my seed box is sat on the side of my desk making sad puppy eyes at me as I type ;)

Gardeners & allotmenteers are just about always resourceful types when it comes to reusing and recycling stuff – I don’t think I’ve ever met a grower who doesn’t keep ice cream/margarine tubs etc for reuse – but I thought it would be worth having a bit of a sharing session about what you reuse for starting seeds, as plant pots or as water-catchers under plant pots, and if there is anything that you choose not to reuse for whatever reason.

At one point, a good few years ago now, I think about 90% of my seeds were started in plastic mushroom tubs — either directly in the tub or using them to catch water draining from plants pots. In the past, I also used shallow fresh pasta packaging as starter trays and multi-serving yoghurt/cream pots for the growing on stage. I know my dad keeps the clear plastic boxes used by supermarkets for muffins or pastries whenever he gets them because the lid gives the tray its own little propagator/greenhouse too – and similarly he cuts down 2ltr pop/soda bottles to make a pot with its own little cloche.

Moving away from plastic – since I do worry about putting plastic in direct sunlight/warm spots when it’s not designed to be used in that way, I’ve used newspaper and toilet roll tubes to make “plantable” pots – the former just require a little folding into shape and the latter can be cut in half to make twice the number or left whole as “root trainers” for growing carrots or parsnips.

(I also cut up plastic milk bottles & drinks cans to make plant markers for all these many, many seeds!)

So, what packaging (or other household waste) do you reuse for starting off your seedlings? What about for the growing on stage?

How can I reuse or recycle trade-size ice cream tubs?

The other day, John and I were hanging around a dumpster at the back of an ice cream parlour — as you do — and spotted it was full of 5ltr plastic ice cream tubs.

In our house, ice cream tubs are one of our favourite plastics to reuse – rectangular 1ltr square tubs are just the right size of storing leftovers and the 2ltr ones are useful for other storage stuff (three current reuses: we’ve got one for chicken scraps in the kitchen, I’ve got unplanted seeds in another and a third & fourth are used for batteries – one for new batteries, the other for batteries heading to recycling) – and they’re usually made from reasonably commonly recyclable types of plastic – the ones I’ve got here are Polypropylene, resin code 5. To be honest, I was quite surprised that this ice cream parlour didn’t have a recycling scheme in place since it surely generated a fair number every day.

Next time we’re in the environs, I’m tempted to ask if I can have a dozen or so to reuse. They were about 30cm (1ft) or so long, about 15cm/6″ tall and the same wide. I’ve got loads of office and craft stuff that need to be stored better and a row of those on a shelf might be a neat way to do it.

They’d also work on the thin counter in our porch as planters for growing salad etc – although I am trying to move away from growing stuff in plastic. Storage and planters – my reuse ideas for just about everything at the moment, which I think gives a rather telling glance into our life ;)

What about other reuses?