How to Recycle Paper Milk Cartons

Paper milk cartons irritate me because they are one of the few things that are almost completely unrecyclable. Luckily, there are several ways that you can reuse paper milk cartons. They can even replace many other useful items in your home.

I use paper milk cartons for food storage. They freeze food very well. All you need to do is cut the top off of the milk carton and cut partway down the corners. Fill the cleaned milk container with your leftovers or whatever food that you would like to freeze. Fold down the edges of the milk cartons so that they cover the top of the food and secure the package with a piece of tape. You can label the container with a sharpie or other permanent marker.

Paper milk cartons make fantastic pots to use as plant starters. You can make one plant pot from each milk carton. Cut the carton in half across the middle. The bottom of the milk carton is ready to be used, so put it to the side. Cut the top of the other half open and then fold it flat so that it is not pointed. Use a piece of tape on each side to secure it closed. This should make two equal sized plant pots that are relatively waterproof. They can be reused again once you have repotted or transferred your seedlings to the garden.

Paper milk cartons are also biodegradable, so you can put them in with your compost when they have outlived their usefulness. They may take slightly longer to decompose than your other compostable materials because of their wax coating. Make sure that you tear the milk cartons into pieces before adding them to your compost. This will help them to deteriorate faster.

Kids can make all kinds of great crafts from milk cartons including birdfeeders, bird houses, pinhole cameras, and pencil holders. All you need to do is give them some scissors, scrap paper, and a little tape and let them go to town. You’ll be amazed at what children can come up with when they start getting creative.

Paper milk cartons make wonderful organizers for drawers. If you have a craft room or sewing room, these organizers can be used in cabinets and drawers and work better than anything I have tried. You can make two organizer squares from one milk carton the same way that they are used to make seedling pots for gardening. Place the clean milk carton halves into your drawers so that they fill the entire drawer. You may have to tape the sections together across the top. This sections off your drawers so that when you put small items in, they will not get lost in a jumble. Keep thread, ribbons, buttons, sewing supplies, craft supplies and other small items separate without having to purchase expensive plastic drawer organizers.

Use all different sized milk cartons to create little houses for a Christmas scene decoration. You can use �½ gallon sizes as well as quart and pint sizes. Cut the bottoms off to make the little buildings taller and shorter. Glue the tops closed and then cut across the seam at the top so that they are still glued together, but have less of a ridge at the peak. Paint your milk cartons with craft paints to look like little buildings and houses. You may need to use a spray-on primer first so that the paint will stick properly to the waxed paper of the milk cartons. You can create adorable little towns this way. Other recycled materials can be used to make your town as well. Old quilt batting and pillow stuffing makes wonderful snow. You can also make snow from leftover spider webs from Halloween.

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