Most likely, you have one or more big plastic jugs in your house now. What will you do with them when your products are used up?  Consider upcycling them rather than tossing them into recycling. If you can’t find a use for them yourself, ask around and see if anyone who has already weaned off plastic jugs has a need for them.  Here are some ideas to get you started. But first, a word of caution. Always consider what was in that plastic jug and whether it’s suitable for a particular re-use. For instance, I don’t re-use windshield wiper fluid jugs for food (including pet food), but I don’t see a problem with using them for storage in the workshop. 

Sap Bucket

While some of these re-use ideas are very specific — not everyone needs an extra “basket” for collecting fresh eggs! — they’re included here anyway in hopes that they spark other ideas.

Maple sap bucket Making maple syrup is one of the joys of winter! Collect sap easily (and cheaply) by re-using clean plastic jugs. Pictured is a former milk jug, but beware: this lighter-weight plastic tends to develop holes, especially after freezing. Vinegar jugs work better.

Egg Basket

Egg basket Do you keep chickens? Cut away the spout opposite the handle of a clean jug to make a handy basket for collecting eggs. Bonus: you can wash the eggs right in the container if you like.

Pet food scoop

Pet food scoop Use a sturdy jug. The one pictured here is made from a milk jug, but a heavier weight would work better. Leave the lid on, and cut away the bottom, leaving as much of a leading edge as you need.

Kitty litter scoop Same idea as above. What else can you think of to scoop?

Woodshop hacks Jugs can be used to store screws and nails, leftover paint, twine, and more. Or they can be made into funnels, roller trays, bag dispensers, and more. Check out Family Handyman for inspiration and instructions!

DIY Watering Can

Watering can In the past I have purchased watering cans, but they’ve only lasted a season or two before developing leaks. Here’s a fun solution!

Clothespin holder

Clothespin holder. Use a large enough jug to accommodate all your clothespins. Cut away the spout to make an opening, leaving the handle intact. Use duct tape to cover any jagged edges. (Of course, you can take the time to make it prettier than this one if you’re so inclined!)

Berry Basket
(credit: Denise Breeden-Ost)

Berry basket. If you’re picking a lot of berries, you want your hands free without having to bend down to a container on the ground. Cut the top off a vinegar jug, cut two slits as shown, and slip in a cloth strap to tie the basket around your waist. Happy picking!

Bulk Grain Storage

Bulk grain storage After an impulse buy of a 20-lb bag of basmati rice, I discovered that clean, dry milk jugs are handy in the pantry! Fill it with a funnel, then pour the grain out to use.

Homemade laundry detergent storage Yes, it’s true: If you make your own detergent, you’ll need a container to store it in. Guess what’s perfect for that?!

Here are even more ideas on re-using and upcycling plastic jugs. You probably have come up with your own, too. Send us a picture, or just tell how you repurpose them!