5 ways to reuse your Tetra Pak cartons

Filed in Blog, Reuse by on October 27, 2010 28 Comments
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reuse your tetra pak cartons with Karen's ideas

reuse your tetra pak cartons with Karen's ideas

I was inspired by Karen’s comment on our Tetra Pak recycling post.

I was asking you whether you had kerbside collections or bring banks for Tetra Pak cartons in your area. Most of you do, but Karen pointed out that she only used a couple of cartons per month, so was reusing them instead.

We all know that we should Reduce first (ie buy only what we need), Reuse next and Recycling comes at the end.

Here are Karen’s suggestions for reusing your Tetra Pak cartons and I’d love to hear yours; please share them in the comments below!

Plant pots

Cut the top off and fill with compost to plant seeds .

Crayon pots

Cut top off and cover with pretty fabric/ paper and use as children’s crayon pot.

Protection

Use to post breakables by opening a flap on the side. Stuff the space with shredded waste paper.

Paint pots

Cut top off and use as a container for paint rather than using a large can.

Crafts

Schools and playgroups can use them for their crafts.

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth’s fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (28)

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  1. Pippa says:

    My granny used to keep and use her tetra packs for freezing berries, mushrooms and berry mash (if she didn’t have time to make jam or wanted to use them mashed later in the year). She’d cut the tops of the tetra packs off to desired measure and have pre-used, washed plastic freeze bags (she recycled more than you’d think!) on top of the cartons secured with rubber band. The cartons would then be easily stored upright in her huuuge freezer. If she went wild or froze a huge amount of berries, she’d write on the sides what was inside and after the cartons were frozen, she’d turn them on their sides and pile them up into freezer baskets.

  2. Mrs Green says:

    @Pippa: Hi Pippa, what an organised sounding granny; I’m loving this suggestion – thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. now these are good ideas although i dont really have a garden or such but they are good ideas which i will remember for when i can reuse!

  4. John Ashwell says:

    Er would anyone like to join my gang and become a Zeroaire?

    http://beyondmaterialism-john.blogspot.com/2010/10/who-wants-to-be-zeroaire-i-do.html

    Tee Shirts not yet available though, sorry

    Love John

  5. sandy says:

    brilant ideas, I will be using most in future. although we only have a few a month, since I started to make my own soya milk.

  6. Sooz says:

    I love the idea of using them for freezing things in! thanks!

  7. Karen says:

    So please to have inspired you. Using in the freezer is another brilliant idea. Having told you about our extensive kerb side recycle collection I am amazed to say that tetra packs are not collected . They can however be taken to a bank a few miles away.

    Another use- If I have fat to dispose of after cooking I pour it into a tetra pac until set then. It is safe to put in the bin.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @melissa aka equidae: Hi Melissa, glad you found some useful ideas here.
    @John Ashwell: John, let me know when you get t-shirts; they’d look good with my ‘green is good’ ones 😉
    @sandy: How is the soya milk turning out and what can you do with the beans afterwards; do you make them into things like tofu? Not really sure how it all works, despite the fact I use soy milk myself.
    @Sooz: I love the freezer idea too!
    @Karen: Hi Karen; see, I’m always listening and being inspired by you lovely readers 😉 Good idea on storing fat before disposal too …

  9. Jane says:

    @Karen: I’ve found them useful to put broken drinking glass in for disposal to landfill – you’ve just reminded me.

  10. Karen says:

    @Jane: Good idea Jane. I have used plastic milk bottles for that.

  11. LJayne says:

    I’d forgotten about using them for posting things!
    I often line tupperware tubs with reused bags before freezing so that I can then release the tub for something else but the contents inside the bag are a sensible size and shape for stacking in my freezer. A tetrapak would do the job just as well. Or, like Pippa’s granny, you could use them for storage for things open frozen first. Like berries or sliced green beans. These tend to go in reused plastic bags at the mo but are not an ideal shape.

  12. Jane says:

    @LJayne: As long as the person you’re sending too looks further than the packaging! You’ve reminded me about an old colleague who I gave a funny t-shirt to for a birthday present and in a hurry and to disguise it a little I rolled it up and put it in an empty crisps tube. This disguised it so much that he didn’t open the tube until challenged several days later! (He was a little non-plussed at being given a wrapped tube of crisps for his birthday LOL.)

  13. Mrs Green says:

    @LJayne: I like the idea of lining a tupperware container before freezing things Lesley – I’d not thought of that one!

  14. A fantastic crafty way to reuse your tetra paks: Tetra pak wallets.

    They involve basic materials: scissors, ruler, and velcro or popper to fasten. They are something i make quite often, and make good stocking fillers or small presents.
    I have attached a tutorial

  15. Michelle Morgan says:

    sorry, tutorial is here:
    http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/diy_tetra_pack_wallet
    but you dont need to staple it, folding is enough!!

  16. Mrs Green says:

    @Michelle Morgan: Thanks Michelle – you are the Queen of reuse! I made one of those wallets and it was a real hit. You can see it here: http://mzw.wpengine.com/2009/10/cunning-tetra-pak-reuse-idea/ THanks for all your lovely ideas you’ve shared around the site 🙂

  17. Valérie H. says:

    What if we used them as a container when we go to the butcher shop?

  18. Mrs Green says:

    @Valérie H.: Hi Valerie, thanks for your suggestion. I’m not sure that would work here but yes, they are waterproof so that has a certain appeal for raw meat products…

  19. Tracey says:

    I do broken tile / pottery mosaic with kids, and I use tetra packs to put stuff in that needs to be smashed. This mean that the kids can then lay into them with a hammer without bits flying everywhere. They do break after a bit, but if you shake out the debris, they should still be recyclable.

  20. Mrs Green says:

    @Tracey: Great idea Tracey; very creative!

  21. urbangril says:

    you don’t throw away leftover fat from cooking!!! I pour it off, let it harden and keep in fridge till i have about a yogurt carton worth, then melt in microwave, add porridge oats/breadcrumbs/a few raisins, let it set in a bowl and then cut up and put out for birds. Like the fat balls you buy but better and cheaper, and of course greener.

  22. Ashli Norton says:

    a good reuse would be for holding your homemade broths or soups. i make veggie broth and can make about 30-50 cups of this stuff from my veggie scraps…these things are perfect after being washed to hold the broth. plus people buy broth in these things all the time anyway.

  23. Mrs Green says:

    @urbangril: Sounds like a great recipe urbangril – thanks for sharing!
    @Ashli Norton: Welcome to the site Ashli; thanks for sharing your reuse idea – it sounds fab 🙂

  24. celine says:

    Hallo, I’m Celine and I’m from Germany. I’ve seen you at Galileo. Here is my idea to reuse tetre paks:
    To make purses from tetra paks you cut off the lid and the floor. Then, press the sides together to make it look a bit like a X. Now the lower third is folded up and taped to the middle part. Now cut the upper third of the side walls and the front wall and fold away the rear wall to the front. Now it should already look like a purse. Then put on a button or a Velcro fastener and then the wallet can be decorated or painted.

  25. Mrs Green says:

    @celine: Hi Celine, welcome to the site – I’m glad you found us via Galileo 🙂 Fantastic idea for reusing tetra pak cartons; thanks for sharing! You can see my version of a tetra pak purse here: http://mzw.wpengine.com/2009/10/cunning-tetra-pak-reuse-idea/

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