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How to Reuse old Packaging Material - 10 Tips and Upcycling Ideas

How to use old packaging material for Upcycling-Ideas

You want to use and reuse old packaging instead of throwing it away? Then you are exactly right here! You can so live sustainably as possible, but packaging waste cannot be avoided entirely. Nevertheless, the consumed, natural resources value and make the best of it: namely new things! And at the same time you can save money on new purchases!

In this article, I would like to present you with inspiring tips and upcycling ideas to reuse packaging and give it a second life, so to speak. Let's go!

Here you can find a short overview in advance:

  1. Use canning jars as filling containers or for decorative purposes
  2. Yogurt cup misuse as a pencil holder
  3. Store bags for freezing or for the next packed lunch
  4. Use cellulose nets for DIY tit dumplings
  5. Convert tetrapacks and plastic bottles into creative containers
  6. Resend boxes and envelopes
  7. Toilet paper wrapper make garbage bag
  8. Filling cosmetic vials with homemade everyday products
  9. Filling paper convert into wrapping paper
  10. Use egg cartons for planting seedlings

1. use canning jars as filling containers for unpackaged shopping.

Use old packaging and reuse canning jars

You bought food in a jar, but there is no deposit on it? No problem! Before you rush to put it in the bottle bank, you can reuse the packaging material!

For example as a cool Lunchbox for your next ToGo lunch, as a Lantern decoration or as Solar canning jar. Just as well you can also use in it a Bottle Garden put on, spices and other Store food, them as Gift container or also as hanging flower vase use. And last but not least are suitable Preserving jars of course great for plastic free shopping at Unpacked store or at the weekly market.


2. yogurt cup misuse as a pen holder

Many manufacturers now pay attention to Labels and packaging as sustainable as possible. Nevertheless, packaging waste, from yogurt cups for example, usually ends up quickly back in a recycling plant, landfill or, in the worst case, directly in the environment.

So it's much nicer to just use the plastic or glass cup elsewhere, isn't it? How about for example as a cool Pen holder in the office? Just as well it can be used for Storage container in the refrigerator or for creative craft ideas use

3. store bags for freezing or for the next packed lunch.

By always carrying a jute bag or Fruit and vegetable nets you can avoid disposable bags pretty well. But sometimes you can't do without them - for example, if you've forgotten your reusable bags.

So should you get your hands on a paper or plastic bag, you can of course simply reuse it. For example as Lunch bag for your lunch snack on the road or as Freezer bag. Of course, paper bags work just as well for Storage of objects or also as Dog waste bags.

Tip: Not only plastic bags but also to-go packaging from food orders can be reused. For example, as a container for your home-cooked lunch that you bring to work.

4. use cellulose nets for DIY tit dumplings.

You know those cellulose nets that usually serve as the cohesive packaging for onions, garlic, oranges and a few other foods from the produce section of the supermarket? Before you fire them into the trash can, I've got an upcycling idea or two for you.

How about getting some organic pumpkin and sunflower seeds, some flax seed and vegetable butter to make your own Tit dumplings and pack them in the nets? So you can put them in your Bird friendly garden offer as a source of food and help to Halting species extinction.

As a further alternative, however, you can also use the cellulose nets, for example, as a Container for your self-harvested fruits and vegetables from your own garden.

5. transform tetrapacks and plastic bottles into creative containers

Reuse Tetrapak and plastic bottles

According to Deutsche Umwelthilfe, the recycling rate for beverage cartons is - unexpectedly for many - just 30 percent.₁ You'd rather use the old packaging? Fortunately, it's pretty easy! You can simply turn them into small Vases, Lanterns, Paint containers, Feeding stations, Cultivation trays or Plant containers convert. If you peel off the top adhesive layer, you'll even have a more visually appealing carton without the product information 😉

Similarly, the reuse works with PET bottles. You can also cut them open a bit and use them as plant containers or "rebuild" them into decorative vases.

Important: Theoretically, you could simply refill the plastic bottles and use them again in their original sense. However, this is generally not recommended because (barely visible) cracks quickly form in the plastic, providing a haven for bacteria. In addition, dangerous chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) dissolve and pass into the drinking water.₂

6. resend boxes and envelopes

You have sustainably shopped on the internet? Then open the package carefully, so that you can still see the use a second time can, when you send something again. Just as well you can use it as a box for the Storage of receipts, photos, letters or other "odds and ends". use

Speaking of letters! Sometimes you get envelopes that are absolutely blank and can be opened very well without a letter knife. You can also use these again - for example, for the next letter. Letter to friends or as Envelope for a gift card.

Tip: You should always open boxes in such a way that they remain intact. Because even if we all try, Avoid returnsIf you are a customer, it can happen from time to time that you have to send something back.

7. make toilet paper wrapper into garbage bag

Toilet paper is usually packaged in plastic bags. Be sure to use recycled paper and a film made of recycled plastic. Apart from that, you can still do something for the environment by using the old packaging - as a small trash bag, for example for the bathroom garbage.

Just as well you can also Store apples or other fruitsif you haven't totally torn them 😉 .

8. fill cosmetic vials with homemade everyday products.

You can also reuse the apparent packaging waste of cosmetics. Small glass jars, for example, are ideal as Budget funds container. For example, you can use your homemade ivy dishwashing liquid or Own made shower gel fill in. By the way, this is also a wonderful size to pass your DIY achievements to others to try.

Also Cream jars and Shampoo bottles you can wonderfully use for your own creations a second, third and fourth time.

9. filler paper turn into wrapping paper

Many packages contain vast amounts of paper as sustainable filling materialso that the goods are not damaged. When it is (only slightly crumpled) sheets of paper you can also save them and give them a new task. For example as ecological wrapping paper for Christmas or just basically to Wrap gifts plastic free.

Of course, there are no limits to creativity here. Use the paper for example also for handicrafts with your kids or as protective base during painting.

10. use egg cartons for planting seedlings.

Grow seedlings in egg cartons as upcycling for packaging

Since I live vegan do not buy animal foods, I never have egg cartons. However, I know that you can reuse this packaging in many ways. For example for Growing plants or herbs. Just as well they serve as Feeding station for birds, as Sorting aid, to the Storage of plant seeds or as converted Egg cup at the breakfast table.

Very important: Egg cartons may be contaminated and harbor various pathogens. Salmonella and other germs in particular like to spread on the rough surface.₃ Therefore, only use very clean cartons without egg residues and other soiling - to be on the safe side, place the egg cartons in the oven at 90°C for 10 minutes to kill possible germs.

Use old packaging and reuse it sensibly - no problem!

For example, use canning jars for storage, cellulose nets for homemade tit dumplings, and filler material as wrapping paper. Of course, there are countless other upcycling ideas and useful uses for old packaging. But now you are at least inspired and already know some tips and ideas to not dispose of them hastily. Let your creativity run wild and try to always use packaging material at least a second time.

Do you have any questions, suggestions or further tips for upcycling and reusing instead of throwing away? Then I look forward to your comments!

Stay sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS.: Unfortunately I already have many plastic packaging, which is absolutely superfluous. were. Look at them now in the linked post with pleasure, you will have to laugh and cry at the same time 😉.

₁ Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V.: Recycling lie for beverage cartons: Deutsche Umwelthilfe demands deposit for climate-damaging disposable packaging from Tetra Pak and Co. (as of Jan. 21, 2021), available at [01.12.2022].

₂ L. Linke: Plastic bottles please do not refill! (as of: 26.05.2017), available at [01.12.2022].

₃ FOCUS: Reusing egg cartons - Why you're better off throwing away the cardboard (as of Jan. 30, 2017), available at [01.12.2022].

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate links. If you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, because I get a small share of the sales revenue - and of course the product price does not change. Thank you for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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