The Last Thing You Should Do with an Empty Yogurt Container

updated Feb 9, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Someone holding empty yogurt container.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

My family reuses and recycles as much as we can at home. We save plastic grocery bags in a bag holder so we can reuse them; we toss our recyclables in the recycling bin; and I store old glass jars in the awkward cabinet above the microwave to use for homemade salad dressing, leftovers, and pantry storage.

Turns out, the containers we buy things in can be incredibly useful. In addition to glass bottles and jars, I also use plastic produce clamshell containers — like the ones strawberries or grapes come in — to keep items from getting squished when I put them in our cooler. (This doesn’t happen regularly or in daily life, though, so these usually get recycled.) But there’s another type of plastic container I always hang on to: large yogurt containers. 

These large yogurt containers are great. They have lids (should you need them), and you can slip them into a cabinet, where they nest nicely and hardly take up any room. There are many uses for them, including sending home extra dinner food with guests, something I liked to do in the Before Times whenever I’d host hungry college students especially. 

Credit: Kelli Foster

Use an Empty Yogurt Container to Collect Food Scraps

But even if you don’t keep a collection on hand, you can put a single empty yogurt container to good use before you recycle it by turning it into a countertop scrap collector. As you chop onions, slice carrots, or de-stem strawberries, having a right-there receptacle to toss your discards into keeps your workspace clean and clear and allows you to easily put even the tossed food scraps to further use. Think of it as a “garbage bowl,” popularized by Rachael Ray — except you don’t have to use one of your regular bowls (you know, that you eat stuff out of!) to make it happen.

Related: Why Everyone Should Compost (Even If You Never Garden). But Good News: It’s Much Easier than You Think.

If you plan to compost your scraps, you could even line the container with compostable bags, and then your yogurt container remains clean for future use. I don’t have a compost pile, but I give my scraps to my friends’ chickens who like to nibble away at them. You can also use this container to collect scraps for vegetable stock.

Reuse your empty yogurt container for as many rounds of scrap collecting as you can. Then, when it starts to crack, it’s time to recycle it and start over with a new one.

How will you use your yogurt container?