Reuse Take Out Containers
Product Reviews
Tips & Tricks

Reuse Take Out Containers

By: Sabrina Huda Sanchez

You pull up to the drive through window and receive the food you’ve been craving. You open the take out container to devour your meal then wash it down with a refreshing beverage from the disposable cup. When you’ve finished, you take the to go containers over to the trash can and... WAIT! -- those vessels of satisfaction will end up in a landfill for thousands of years. In order to lessen our impact on Mother Earth, we can learn to reduce, reuse, and recycle. These cups and containers can be reused for other fun or useful purposes. Take a look at this list of nifty hacks using your take-out containers.

Coffee Cups

You’re in a good mood and decide to buy your co-workers some morning coffee. After they have praised you with infinite gratitude and drank their much-needed caffeine fix, there are now a dozen disposable coffee cups. Why not keep the party going with DIY party poppers!

The supplies you will need are: paper cups, latex balloons, scissors, and glitter. The first step is to wash out the cups and let them dry. Next, cut the bottom of the cup and the tip of the balloons. Tie a knot into the bottom of the balloon then stretch the balloon over the bottom of the cup. Put the glitter into the cup and you’re set! To use, simply pull back the balloon knot and let go to watch the glitter confetti launch into the air.

Use these again and again! You can even change the confetti to match the party theme.


Cup Sleeves

Mostly likely those coffee cups each came with cup sleeves to give your team protection against the hot temperature emanating from the cup. You can always reuse these cup sleeves again as cup sleeves, or you can turn them into an eco-friendly coaster.

The items you’ll need to create this are: five cup sleeves and optional markers to decorate. To make the coaster, insert one end of a flattened sleeve into another one. Then, insert that one into another flattened sleeve. Repeat until you’ve closed the loop and created a pentagon. At this point you may decorate with markers, colored paper, or anything else you’d like.

Now you have the perfect tool to prevent water rings on your desk.

 deli containers

Deli Containers

For lunch you had a hearty sandwich with a side of macaroni salad from your local deli. Both were incredibly delicious! The macaroni salad was served in a clear deli container with lid. What you may not know is that you hit the jackpot in terms of take-out containers. The round deli container with lid has so many purposes. After you wash out the container, you will be able to store everything from nuts and bolts to dried beans and rice. The clear container makes a fantastic organizer, allowing you to stack and view your items.

In fact, you don’t even need to wait to receive food in these to get these. You can order wholesale to go containers online to get a case of deli containers so you can begin organizing your house.

paper bag lanterns

Paper Lunch Bags

The hole-in-a-wall restaurant you claim has the best food you’ve ever had, sends their food to go in a discreet paper bag – the kind your mother used to pack your lunch in as a kid. Now it carries that sacred meal that makes your mouth salivate just thinking about. Of course, the obvious use for a lunch bag is to use it as another lunch bag, but you can get surprisingly creative with them like this list of 16 ways to repurpose paper bags shows.

One beautiful idea is to make paper bag luminaries, also known as paper bag lanterns. What you will need: paper bag, sand (or dried rice), and votive candle (or flameless candle). The basic version of this is to add a few cups of sand into the bag then place a votive candle inside, leaving the bag open. Based on the time of year, you can decorate your bag accordingly. For example, for Día de los Muertos, some cut out patterns of skulls and other designs and allow it to illuminate similarly to a jack-o-lantern.


Are To Go Containers Recyclable?

It’s always great to find ways to reuse things, but what if you can’t find a new use for them or what if they have reached their limit? The next best thing is to determine if these items are recyclable. Check to see if there is a recycle symbol or resin ID located on the container or cup. If you do not see one, then it belongs in the trash.

It’s a common misconception that paper cups are recyclable, but they are actually lined with plastic along the inside to prevent the drink from seeping out. Unfortunately, that means it is nearly impossible to separate and properly recycle. That is why it’s best to reuse if you can. Cups also make create pen holders!



Take out containers and disposable cups have a useful purpose of transporting and saving food or drinks for later consumption. We are thankful for them when we want to eat out, but we need to be wary of their impact on the environment. If they are not made from biodegradable material, try to reuse them for fun or function! Happy Earth Day!