Even when thoroughly cleaned and let to dry, Chinese takeout containers, due to their wax and plastic coating, are often unacceptable donors to the recycle bin. But with annual orders of Chinese takeout peaking above the billions, most don’t wish to idly stand and let the stacks of container waste rise, let alone participate themselves. So, while by no means a solid solution, as it doesn’t put a stop to the creation of new, equally un-recyclable food containers, up-cycling does allow you to put a creative dent in your own waste. And, in many cases it serves to reduce additional waste by functioning as a base for the following uses.
Whether you wish to give presents during the holidays or dispense favors at a party, takeout containers give gifts a structural flair and portability that is especially useful for the latter. The first example even makes use of the restaurant’s menu, creating a wrapping paper that is in theme with the gift’s vessel. These dolled-up containers could also be left open to harbor toiletries.
Lanterns & Lights
This is an area of particular flexibility, as containers may serve as lampshades that shelters soft light, or used to cradle tea lights and other candles. Doing either, you can take your own level of inventiveness a step further by cutting shapes out of the container’s sides, so that when the lights are on and candles lit, lively projections will play off the wall.
In addition to the above, takeout containers would be, on multiple levels, suitable candidates for use in Chinese lanterns. Imagine if those pictured below, strung amongst the branches, consisted of suspended takeout boxes instead.
Takeout boxes have the additional benefit of their metal handles, which allow them to be hung on their own, without the need of ropes or strings. Try hanging some on hooks and directly from solitary branches.
They may not be able to biodegrade themselves, but they can still play an important role in a plant’s life. In this case, by showcasing the primitive tokens of nature whilst containing their unruly beauty. Using takeout containers, plants can perch atop windowsills or mounted like planters along fences and posts.
Child’s Room Decor
This could easily be an extension of lights and lanterns, with a few added flourishes to create fantastical figures for your kids to admire. Beyond their ability to enhance rooms with a bit of whimsicality, the containers pictures above could be used to harbor toys and craft utensils. Though you may want to dangle the decor a little lower to ensure such tools are still accessible.
Totes for Treats
Their deep but compact cavity and easy portability make takeout containers handy accessories for trick or treating. Indeed, it has never been easier to get your candy to go. When decorating containers for Halloween, it can be simple, as in the example above, using stencils to conjure minimalistic, shadow figures that invoke an unsettling sense of the unknown that would rival the understated terrors of any German expressionist film.
But if frightful tremors are not what you’re after, you can easily go an other route, dressing up containers in their own costumes, varying from cute and traditional to contemporary elegance.
So, not only do you prevent extra food containers from entering your household’s waste stream, you also negate the need to buy an excess of disposable wrapping and packaging materials.
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