Bracelet made from colorful circles of plastic cut from laundry soap jugs and gift cards

Plastic Tubs Creative Reuse

Laundry soap and cooking oil come in heavy-duty plastic tubs or jugs that are often not recycled by municipal recycling programs. But there are many ways you can creatively reuse them at home and to make art.

You can listen to my podcast episode on creative reuse of plastic tubs from May 2021 in this YouTube video:

First though, let’s all do our best to stop purchasing products in these containers if possible. In some places, there are zero-waste stores that let you fill up your containers and reuse them. This is a great option since these heavy-duty plastic tubs are treated as disposable, but they are extremely rugged and difficult to recycle.

Easy Creative Reuse Ideas at Home for Plastic Tubs

See photos of these ideas at the Trashmagination Pinterest board for plastic tubs

  1. Use them to store liquids – For leftover paint for example. Or make a hand-washing station to take with you outside or to events. Scouts can use them to add to their hand-washing stations. Or make a bubble liquid refill station for your parties. Make it into a plant watering can by drilling holes in the cap.

2. Use them to hold solids that tend to spill – These containers are also great to store substances that come in a plastic bag, but which tend to spill out of the bag once the bag is opened. I’m thinking about sand, ice melting crystals or organic gardening supplies for example.

3. Use them as weights – Fill them with water or sand and use them as weights for your exercise routine or to help weigh down a tent or tarp on a windy day.

4. Make a scoop or bucket – Cut off the top section of these containers but leave the handle on. Bring it to the beach instead of buying a new plastic bucket, or you could use them to scoop feed for animals. You can play a game of catch with two of these containers where you try to toss a small ball from scoop to scoop.

5. Make a Geocache – Tide Pod containers make good geocaches because they are waterproof and easy to open. This is like a worldwide treasure hunt – learn more at

Home Craft Projects

  • Orange Tide Pod containers make great pumpkins for Halloween decorations.
  • White Tide Pod containers make great snowmen or bunnies.
  • Yellow Tide Pod containers make great emojis or Lego heads.

Plastic tubs are great for making artistic masks, such as these Tiki Statues. But there are dozens of mask ideas from plastic tubs on Pinterest.

Make an elephant decoration.

Check out the book Fantastic Recycled Plastic by David and Robin Edgar

Artist Who Creatively Reuse Plastic Tubs

Aurora Robson

Kat Crabill from Nurdle in the Rough

Serge Attukwei Clottey

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