Creative Recycling: Takeout Containers

Sometimes to be green, you must think outside of the box.  Everyday circumstances enlighten us to new challenges of how to remain eco-friendly in today’s quick to evolve and immediate gratification culture.  Takeout food is no different.  We desire the convenience, efficiency, and quite honestly, the taste of the dish inside of that cute little box.  If you get stuck with these “doggie bags”, there are clever ways you can recycle them into beneficial, everyday useable items.


Plastic, paper, and Styrofoam containers make beneficial planters.  Simply poke holes in the bottom for water drainage before planting.

Scoops and Buckets

Use plastic, round containers as a beneficial scoop.  You can use this especially when portioning pet food.  Pack it in your beach bags and use it as a base building supply for sandcastles.  Or use them as a rinse bucket when shampooing your baby’s hair.  Poke holes on both sides and slide a string through them, tie around your neck and use as berry picking buckets.

Seed Starting Tray

Seed starting trays can be expensive, especially when you need several to start up your garden and flower beds.  Styrofoam takeout containers make wonderful seed starting trays.

Paint Trays

If you need to save your paint over night, there’s no better option than plastic, sealable takeout containers.


Desks become easily cluttered with random objects.  Save the takeout container you have from an office lunch and divide essential items from the random items floating in your drawers with clean takeout containers

Package Material

There is no need to purchase packaging material.  Items sitting around your home, including old takeout boxes and newspaper, suffice for packaging material.  Any fragile object that will be shipped can be snuggly wrapped in newspaper and placed securely in a takeout container.


Old containers are ideal for storing beads, paints, costume jewelry, or sewing supplies.  A clean takeout box makes great storage for craft-minded people.  They are perfect for storing children’s crayons, chalk, markers and stickers as well.  Paint and decorate containers and reuse as fun piggy bank containers to keep in the kid’s room.

Food Storage

Plastic takeout containers make wonderful Tupperware containers.  Collect them and whenever you have a dinner party, send your guest’s home with leftovers in a fancy take out box.

Real Doggie Bags

Going on a day trip with your puppy?  Your furry friend might get hungry.  Fill a takeout container with some dog food and hit the road.  Your dog will thank you later.


Going on a camping trip or a weekend road trip?  Save leftover to-go condiment packets, napkins, and plastic utensils and pack them with some lunch and hit the road.

Coffee Grounds

Hold coffee grounds separately from compost for a slug repellant in the garden, or toss them into the compost pile to add a rich source of nitrogen for your plants and vegetables.

Being environmentally conscious isn’t always easy.  It takes creativity, time, and desire to continue and maintain a green movement.  However, living green and being more eco-friendly can be simple and even cost efficient with a few basic steps and a bit of ingenuity.