We go through a 16-ounce container of yogurt a week at our house - that adds up to a lot of plastic tubs! It seems like a shame to throw such perfect ready-made containers in the recycling, so we've come up with some creative ways to put those yogurt containers back to work in our kitchen...
Because yogurt tubs aren't the prettiest of containers and the original labels can sometimes be confusing at a quick glance, we keep plain white mailing labels on hand to cover the sides and write on the new contents.
1. Freezer Containers - Tall, relatively skinny 16-ounce containers fit perfectly on the low shelves in our freezer and have become a great space-saver. Instead of keeping frozen fruits and vegetables in bulky plastic bags, now we transfer them to yogurt containers. Soups, stock, and other freeze-able leftovers also now go into yogurt containers.
2. Bulk Bin Containers - We also store a lot of our dried beans, grains, and other bulk dry goods in yogurt containers. We thought we might have problems with critters getting into these less-secure containers (as compared to canning jars or other storage bins), but so far this hasn't been an issue.
3. Spice Storage - The smaller, individual yogurt containers are great for storing bulk spices. We actually find it easier to scoop spices out of these wide-mouthed containers, and the lids are easier to get on and off. We use a larger yogurt container to store the small baggies of spices we only use occasionally.
4. "To Go" Containers - After dinner parties, we send our guests home with leftovers packed into cleaned yogurt containers. It's tidy for traveling and cheap for us!
5. Container Gardening - Small yogurt containers are great for raising seedlings. Once they start to outgrow that size, we transfer them to 16-ounce containers. This works great for garden herbs, flowers, and other smaller plants that don't need a lot of soil. Poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage, and then use the lid as a tray to catch watering overflow!
You might wonder why we didn't mention using yogurt containers to store leftovers in the fridge. We tried this for a while, but found that we kept confusing the containers with our actual yogurt and then overlooking leftovers because we couldn't see what was in the container. We decided to keep other clear containers specifically for refrigerating leftovers and use the yogurt containers in other ways.
We hope this is obvious, but you can certainly do all these things with any other kind of container! We definitely re-use sour cream, cottage cheese, and ricotta containers as well.
What other ways do you re-use plastic containers like these in your kitchen - or elsewhere in your house?
(Image: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)