12 Surprising Uses for Empty Containers & Food Packaging


We throw out so much stuff every single day — and we really don’t have to! Indeed, many of the things we’d normally forget about can be used and reused in a number of different ways. Click through to check out some of them.

Unsure about the safety of your particular plastic? The Natural Resources Defense Council has some great information that addresses that here.

Earlier: 18 Ways to Use Sponges (Slideshow)


Around the House.

1. Make a Plastic Bag Dispenser with an Empty Soda Bottle. Plastic bags are handy to have around, but a pain to store without a swift descent into  drawer chaos. That’s what makes this simple trick so perfect — cut off the bottom of a 2-liter soda bottle, cram your plastic bags inside, and put it an out-of-the-way spot in your kitchen. You can then grab one through the neck of the bottle.

2. Scrub Dishes Like a Pro. You know those mesh bags that citrus fruits are sold in? Save ‘em and use wadded up balls of mesh to wash your dishes. They do the trick just as well commercial scrub brushes.

3. Save Water. How’s this for perfect: cut down on your water bill, do your part to save a precious resource and upcycle an old plastic bottle?! Turn any toilet into a low flush toilet with this simple trick.

4. Use Plastic Containers as a Scoop. Repurpose plastic cups as a scoop for pet food, mulch in the garden, and more.


Food and Drink.

5. Make Chili Sauce with Leftover Sriracha. Don’t toss out that nearly-empty sriracha bottle — use it to make a tasty chile oil. The basic gist is that you put a little bit of a neutral oil in the bottle and shake it up, but check out a video about it here.

6. Make Perfect Pancakes. Skip those pricey batter dispensers — just repurpose an old ketchup bottle to squirt out pancake batter perfectly every time. This is an especially good trick for a camping trip.

7. Fill a Cheese Shaker with Flour. Breeze through flouring surfaces in baking by upcyclying a parmesan cheese shaker with flour.

8. Make Tasty Oatmeal with a Nearly Empty Nut Butter Jar. When you’re almost done with that nut butter jar, don’t just toss it — make oatmeal! Check out the recipe here.

9. Make Ice Pops. Yogurt containers make a perfect mold for ice pops.

See Also: 15 Ways to Use Eggplant (Slideshow)


More Great Uses.

10. Water Plants with More Control. This project, which uses an empty container to make an easier-t0-control watering can, is inspired by 17th and 18th century English pottery. Wow!

11. Keep Tall Boots Upright. Saggy boots? Keep them standing tall with wine bottles.

12. Hang Pictures with Soda Can Tabs. With just a screw and a soda can tab, you can hang pictures that don’t have wire or anything else to hang. Find detailed instructions here.

More Slideshows:
12 Fascinating Fruit & Vegetable Relatives
6 of the World’s Most Unusual Schools
7 Grossest State Fair Foods


Leila Mota
Leila Mota2 years ago

Very cool! o/

Anon E.
Cela V3 years ago


Sen Senz
Sayenne H3 years ago

Noted and thanks

Julia Cabrera-Woscek

Nice! Thanks for giving us ideas and choices!

Past Member 4 years ago


Kathryn M.
Kathryn M4 years ago

Thank you. Good ideas!

Charles Graves
Past Member 4 years ago


Catrin K.

Great tips.

Erin H.
Erin H4 years ago

Interesting article, thank you!

Sofia D.
Sofia D4 years ago

oh my god thanks for these amazing tips.
gonna use some of these!