Ice cream is one of the most loved desserts around the world. Once a treat reserved for the wealthy, modern refrigeration techniques has made ice cream available for everyone.
Ice cream can be eaten for many reasons: to celebrate a birthday or a promotion, to wind down after a tiring day at the office, to get over a tough breakup, and for no reason at all. So much so that the average American consumes about 23 gallons of ice cream each year!
While you might love downing your favorite flavor of ice cream every time you get the chance (the most popular flavor in America happens to be vanilla), have you ever wondered what happens to the containers that ice cream comes in?
Ice cream containers: what are they made of?
Generally, ice cream containers and buckets are made of paper or plastic.
Paper ice cream containers:
Many ice cream brands use containers made of cardboard to pack their ice cream. It sounds like a great option for the environment, doesn’t it? Actually, no, these “paper” tubs are nothing less than an environmental nightmare.
You see, ice cream containers need to be waterproof, and not only that, they need to be waterproof and stable even in freezing conditions. For this, they need to have a property called wet strength, which is achieved by covering the cardboard with a thin layer of plastic.
While this layer of plastic may be cheap to apply and helpful in keeping your ice cream fresh, they make such containers very hard to recycle.
Normally, recycling cardboard involves submerging the waste in water to make a paste that can then be processed further.
But with their plastic waterproof coating, ice cream containers cannot be broken down like this: first, you’d have to remove their outer plastic layer before they can be recycled. This is a very tedious and labor-intensive task, and thus few recyclers accept such containers.
You cannot even compost these “paper” tubs for the same reason because the plastic coating protects the cardboard from decomposition.
Plastic ice cream containers:
Another material widely used to pack ice cream is, you guessed it, plastic. While plastic is not good for the environment, you can at least send plastic tubs for recycling. There is one issue with recycling plastic ice cream containers or any plastic used to store food: it might be contaminated.
Plastic needs to be cleaned before it goes into a recycling plant, and you can help a lot by cleaning your containers before you send them for recycling.
What can you do if recycling is not an option? You can reuse ice cream containers. Let’s see how.
Ways to reuse ice cream containers
Pen Stands from Ice Cream Containers
Empty ice cream tubs make for great pen stands. You can use them as they are, but why not make them a little more interesting?
You can decorate the ice cream container by using ice cream sticks! Color the sticks in different colors and stick them on using craft glue. Or you can decorate it by winding a string around the container’s body.
Planters from Ice Cream Containers
Ice cream tubs can be good planters, and their waterproof nature means they will be unaffected even after repeated waterings. You can also use smaller ice cream containers to grow herbs and make your own herb garden.
You need to poke a few holes into the bottom of the ice cream container so that the water can drain properly. We can even use the lid as a plate to put under the planter so that you don’t have water dripping everywhere, especially if the planter is indoors.
Jewelry Storage from Ice Cream Containers
Always seem to lose your trinkets? Why not keep them in a cute storage box made from reused ice cream containers?
You can even fit smaller containers inside a big tub in order to arrange your jewelry. Decorate the container with velvet cloth and a few embellishments to make them look like real jewelry boxes!
Ice Cream Containers to store Sewing Supplies
Sewing supplies are something you need close at hand, but they keep getting misplaced. Keep them arranged and within reach by reusing an ice cream container as storage for sewing supplies.
Ice Cream Containers to store Craft Items
If you are an artsy person or have a kid who likes to create arts and crafts, you probably have a lot of craft supplies lying around—different types of ribbons, beads, cords, clay, and whatnot. Organize and store your craft items using reused ice cream containers.
Ice Cream Containers to store Beauty Products
Let’s face it, we buy too many cosmetic and beauty products and then lose it trying to figure out how to keep everything in order.
Why not use old ice cream containers to store beauty products? Separate them into different boxes according to type so you can find what you need in a hurry.
Ice Cream Containers to store Spare change
Turn your discarded ice cream tub into a piggy bank! Make a small slit in the lid, put your spare change in it every day, and slowly watch your savings grow.
Ice Cream Containers to Store Toys
You can turn your used ice cream containers into storage for your kid’s toys, especially the smaller ones. This will teach your children the value of tidiness.
Ice Cream Containers to store Pins and clips
Everyone has that collection of pins, clips, and bands they like to have around. If you are having a prickly time storing your pins and clips, reuse your ice cream containers to store them!
These are some ways you can reuse ice cream containers to store stuff. Bigger ice cream tubs may be better as they can hold more. Ice cream containers probably won’t be able to store bulky or heavy items but can handle smaller and lighter items pretty well.
Kitchen Storage from Ice Cream Containers
Since ice cream containers are food-grade, to begin with, you can use them to store stuff in the kitchen, like herbs, spices, and condiments. This can help keep your kitchen counter, and a cabinet organized.
Do not, however, use them to store hot or cooked food, as ice cream tubs are made to withstand cold, not heat.
Ice Cream Containers to store Cleaning Supplies
Do you find it troublesome to lug all your cleaning items from room to room as you are busy doing your cleaning chores?
Put your cleaning items in an ice cream container, and you can carry them around comfortably. Having all your cleaning supplies in one place also helps in storing them.
Tissue Paper Holder from Ice Cream Containers
Ice cream containers can make for some funky-looking tissue paper holders. Place the tissues inside the container and make a small hole or slit into the tub’s lid to pull them out.
You can reuse the ice cream containers as they are, paint or decorate them as you want.
Easter baskets from Ice Cream Containers
Why spend money on Easter baskets every year when you can reuse your old ice cream containers? Paint them in bright colors, attach a string or a handle, and have fun looking for eggs!
First Aid Box
It’s always good to have basic first aid in your home. Instead of buying a new container, you can keep your first aid items in a reused ice cream container.
There are many ways you can reuse ice cream containers: primarily to store items; they are containers, after all. You can reuse a container as it is or decorate it in various ways by painting it or using paper or cloth to cover the outside surface. Check out my other post to know how you can reuse any containers at home.