15 Creative Ways to Reuse Plastic Milk Jugs

Are you throwing empty milk jugs into the recycling bin?  DON’T!  There are dozens of creative ways to reuse plastic milk jugs around the house.  From easy DIY bird feeders to homemade weights for your next workout, here are a few ways to use repurposed milk jugs to reduce your carbon footprint.  

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Creative ways to Reuse Milk Jugs so you can save money and go green!

I have WAY too many plastic milk jugs!

Since my daughter has a near obsession with milk, the one thing I am always recycling is plastic milk jugs. There are days I think I would be better off just buying my own cow but until my home owners association is willing to overlook livestock in the back yard, I am stuck buying milk in jugs from the store.

I decided to start doing a bit of research on creative ways to reuse plastic milk jugs. If I could keep just one or two out of my recycling bin a month I think it is a step in the right direction on my ‘going green’ journey. If you find yourself drowning in plastic milk jugs like I am, here are a few creative ways to reuse them!

How to reuse plastic milk jugs

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10 Creative Ways to Reuse Plastic Milk Jugs

There are dozens of uses for one gallon milk jugs, however, make sure you clean it out thoroughly before you try them.  Wash with soap and water, then rinse and let dry completely before attempting any milk jug recycle projects .  Otherwise, the odor might be very unpleasant!

Thaw your driveway with salt

Slice the bottom off a capped milk jug and fill the top with driveway salt. Hold on to the handle and flick your wrist to throw salt over your icy driveway.

small seedling in garden

Protect seedlings in the garden

How do you reuse plastic milk jugs in the garden?  Use them to protect delicate seedlings from frost. Cut the bottom off a gallon jug and set it over your seeding in the garden to act as a mini greenhouse. Remove the cap as needed to control temperature and humidity.

Pantry Storage for grains, rice, oats, beans, popcorn

It is vitally important to make sure that your old milk jugs are thoroughly washed with soap and dried before storing anything in them. But, once they are dry, empty plastic containers like this are a great pantry storage idea. 

Chill out a large cooler

Fills your plastic jugs three-quarters full with water and freeze. Place them in a large cooler for a back yard BBQ or in the living room for your next football party!

Repurposed Milk Jugs as Driveway Luminaries 

Use empty milk containers to light the sides of your walkway. Cut off the top, put an inch or two of sand inside and add an LED light or candle. DO NOT use real candles in there!  You will melt the plastic and have a very large mess.  

Frugal Craft containers

Use a sharp knife to cut the top portion of the plastic milk jugs off. Fill bottoms with crayons, markers, pompoms or whatever other craft supplies you need to store. You can also try a few milk bottle crafts if you are creative.  They make great DIY bird feeders or try painting milk jugs to make a piggy bank for kids. 

For particularly tiny craft supplies, or to make your own glitter sprinkle container, upcycle an old spice bottle.  They have handy little sprinkle tops and tight-fitting lids. 

Empty milk jugs make FRUGAL arm weights! 1 gallon of water equals about 8 pounds!

Gallon Sized Hand weights 

Need a little resistance training? Just fill plastic milk jugs with water and start working out. 1 gallon of water equals 8 pounds. Work it into your next workout routine! 

Make a watering can or sprinkler

Turn your plastic milk jugs into a sprinkler or watering can with a sprinkle spout.  Keep it out on the patio and never again forget to water your plants!

Slug trap in your garden

Cut the bottom off your plastic milk jug about 2 or 3 inches from the base. Sink it into the soil so the top rim is level with the soil. Fill with beer (slugs love beer…just don’t use your pricey microbrew). Wait for slugs to drown and discard. Repeat as needed to protect plants.

Make a Plastic Milk Jug Berry picker

This is one of my favorite uses for one-gallon milk jugs.  Cut the top off the milk jug at an angle to widen the opening but leave the handle intact. Slip your belt through the handle to free up your hands for picking.

Tray under house plants

Cut the plastic milk jugs so that only the bottom 3 inches remain. Place under plants to catch over-watering.

Family vacation fund bank.

This is similar to the milk jug craft I mentioned above about making a piggy bank.  Place your empty milk container in an out-of-the-way corner and fill with coins/dollars as you find them in your wallet. Come summer vacation, you will have a nice savings to spend on yourselves and you probably didn’t even miss it from your budget!

A game for your kids:

Cut off the bottom of the jug (just the bottom inch or two.) Decorate the jug with stickers, markers,etc. Using old tennis balls, you now have a ball catcher game!

Turn your empty milk jug into a DIY Dustpan

A plastic milk jug can make a great dustpan.   Just cut off the handle and part of the side, leaving a flat edge. Use the remaining part to scoop up dirt and debris from your floors. The jug is lightweight and easy to maneuver, making clean-up a breeze. Plus, you’re repurposing an item that would have otherwise been thrown away.

Outdoor Weights.

If you need to put a tarp over your wood pile or patio furniture, you can use milk jugs filled with water or sand to weigh it down.  Simply fill the jugs, seal them tightly, and place them on the corners of your tarp. This will keep it in place during strong winds or storms. And when you’re done with the tarp, simply empty out the jugs and reuse them for another project.
assorted plastic bottles


Plastic pollution is a huge problem in this country.  While not everyone has access to a Local Food Co-op or Farmers Market for local milk in glass bottles, we all need to do our part to reduce our carbon footprintStart recycling your empty milk jugs if you can’t find a way to reuse them.  Have any other creative ways to reuse plastic milk jugs?

Like these creative ways to reuse plastic milk jugs? Try these upcycling tips, too:





1 thought on “15 Creative Ways to Reuse Plastic Milk Jugs”

  1. Decorate yur sidewalk at xmas with colored “gum drops” made from milk jugs. Use half gallon or gallon jug fill one third to one half way with water. Dig out the old fashioned outdoor xmas lights string with the c7 or c9 size bulb on them. Insert a bulb down into each milk jug top. . Space jugs evenly the same distance as lights. Plug in and the lights reflect off water in jug a Td glow. Looks like colored gum drops at night. Bulb doesnt melt the plastic and is secure in weather. I have done this in Texas for years .


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