Creative Reuse 2008: Milk Jug as Kitchen Compost Holder

updated May 9, 2019
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Alice from West Orange, NJ recently sent us this great idea: She uses two empty milk jugs to craft compost pails for her kitchen (remember … some fancy compost pails can set you back more than $40).

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Object(s): 2 plastic gallon milk jugs
Project: Kitchen compost container
Instructions: To make one of these, use two rinsed-out gallon milk jugs. Cut out one around the top, so that it ends just at the top edge of the straight sides; give it a little more room on the handle side, so that it remains sturdy. Cut the second one to form a lid, with the cut about an inch lower down so that it overlaps the compost holder, and with an angled cut out around the handle.
Inspiration: This is a simple reuse, and we remember having containers like this around the house when we were kids (for example, full of crayons). We’ve noticed lately, though, that many of our visitors remark on it as such a clever reuse. This got us thinking: what happened to repurposing like this? It seems that everyone we know has another store-bought plastic container designed to hold each particular thing, and kitchen compost holders are a prime example. Why buy a new item, just to hold waste on its way out the door? This one is just perfect for us: smell-tight, keeps out flies, easy to open and close with just two free fingers when you hands are full during food prep, and easy to carry out to the compost bin and dump. Better yet, it is truly part of the reduce-reuse-recycle three-part goal. We always buy our milk in these plastic gallons (now that we live somewhere without a glass bottle dairly) instead of cardboard cartons, we repurpose the jugs for things like this, and when the jug’s plastic holds a bit too much aroma/discoloration from coffee and other organic waste, we rinse it out and toss it in the recycling bin, and replace it with a new one! Inspiration: Our midwestern mothers.

(Thanks, Alice!)