Growing Food in Milk Bottles- Reduce Waste and Save Money

Growing Food in Milk Bottles- Reduce Waste and Save Money

I don't know about you, but my family goes through more milk than I would like to admit. I'm not sure if the majority of it goes in multiple cups of coffee per person per day, or whether we are actually raising poddy calves. Whatever the reason, we all consume a lot of milk.

As much as I would eventually love to eliminate as much plastic as possible, I cannot seem to get away from buying multiple 3l bottles of milk per week. Even if we did a 180 and switched to carton milk it is still lined with plastic so that kind of defeats the purpose and doesn't taste the same!

Our latest way around this problem is actually to just reuse the milk bottles. Instead of using more resources and having someone produce plastic pots for planting or even ceramic pots, we have been repurposing our milk bottles into fruit and vegetable planters.

This is such a simple way to reduce your waste around the home, and while it is not always the prettiest way to display your plants, it is definitely one of the most economical and realistic ways to reduce waste and save money (and by the time you have your gorgeous strawberry plants spilling over the sides, you will not even notice that it was a milk container).

How to turn a milk bottle into a pot for planting

1. Gather the containers that you would like to use and give them a rinse or light wash in soapy water and rinse out. Let dry.


empty 3l milk bottle sitting on wooden planks outdoors


2. Once dry, use a safety knife and cut the top half of your milk bottle off (the part with the handle)- try to keep it in a straight line, but it doesn't matter if it is a bit crooked. Put the top part of the bottle into your recycle bin.


empty 3l milk bottle cut in half sitting on wooden planks with a blue safety  knifeoutdoors


3. Using a soldering iron in a well ventilated space, and face protection (so that you are not breathing in plastic fumes) poke holes around the base of the milk container. If you would like to hang your containers, you can also poke a hole in each side of the container near the top to hang a piece  of rope or string.


person using a soldering iron to poke holes in bottom half of 3 l empty milk bottle


4. If you do not have a soldering iron you can drill the holes (or poke with a very large skewer), however I have found that a soldering iron works best.


base of empty 3l milk bottle cut in half, with holes punched in bottom and sides for drainage, sitting on wooden planks outdoors


5. Your planter is now ready to be filled with potting mix and used as any other pot! If you are hanging it, do not fill above the holes otherwise you will not get your rope through!

* you can actually use any hdpe plastic container for this, it just has to be strong enough to last for a while outside- the last thing you want to do is keep re-potting your plants because your pots break! 

*Use only containers that have had non-toxic products stored in them such as milk etc. Do not use chemical containers. We have successfully used milk, juice and vinegar containers.

Our favourite use for these pots is actually re growing food scraps such as spring onions. If you are interested in how to regrow spring onions from food scraps, click here.

If you have any other ways to reduce waste around the home and you would like to share, we would love to hear! Leave us a comment!


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