10 Simple and Creative Ways to Reuse Plastic Tubes
This blog was inspired by my initiative to reduce plastic in our packaging, as well as you all who are doing the same in your daily lives. The twist-up plastic tubes are the last of the packaging to make the switch, but I'm not quite ready to part with them, so I've had some fun with the family reusing them in useful and creative ways. Before upcycling the tubes, remove any leftover product in the bottom of the tube by twisting it all the way up and removing the disc piece and wiping it clean. If you are using it for different food purposes, you can put all three pieces on the top rack of the dishwasher (tube, disc, and lid).
1. BUTTER STICKS! You may have seen the first one on our Facebook or Instagram pages, and just happens to be my husband's favorite (he's the cook in our family, ironically). We prefer butter over margarine, and the struggle to unwrap the paper and then put it back together in the fridge has always been real, so we made a twist up! Make sure your tube is clean and dry, and that the disc has been re-inserted in the tube and twisted all the way down. Unwrap a stick of butter and press the butter down into the tube until the lid will fit back on. Voila! Use to butter a pan with the tube directly, or twist up to cut off perfect pieces for recipes. To store, put the lid back on and put it in the fridge.
2. GIANT CRAYONS! This one is my kiddo's favorite and also helpful to use up all those broken crayons laying around the house. First, separate the crayons by general color. Turn the oven on low (150-175 degrees F). Place each of the different colors in their own oven-safe container and place them on a cookie sheet in the oven to melt. *Don't use nice cookware as the crayons may stain or be difficult to remove completely.* Once the wax is melted completely, use hot pads to remove the containers from the oven and pour into the plastic tubes. You can make each twist-up tube their own color, or swirl colors together by pouring in 2 or 3 colors at once. Allow to cool completely before using. Enjoy coloring giant pictures!
3. DOUBLE SNACK PACKS! This is a fun one for kids and gives a treat at the bottom of their healthy snack. First, twist up the tube completely to remove the disc. Put a small treat like M&Ms or Skittles at the bottom. Replace the disc and twist down as far as it will allow without smashing the candy. Fill the remainder of the tubes with other healthy treats such as goldfish or raisins. BOOM! I love these because the kiddos must eat the good stuff before they can get to the treat. Bonus, they make great on-the-go snacks that you can put the lid back on and save for later, keeping snacks from ending up all over the seats in my car ;) Use a dry erase marker on the outside to label them with your kids' names or let them decorate themselves.
4. JEWELRY HOLDER! Every time I travel (which isn't recently) I worry about taking off my jewelry and losing it to a sink drain or forgetting to put them back on. The long stick in the middle lets you stack rings or keep earrings and necklaces from getting lost.
5. NAIL POLISH REMOVER PADS! This one rocks, because you can contain the smell of nail polish remover AND keep it from getting all over your hands. To turn the tube into a nail polish remover pad, twist the tube about 3/4 the way up, and stuff with cotton balls. Then pour enough nail polish remover over the cotton balls to soak. Use the stick like an eraser to take off nail polish! When you are finished, put the lid back on to use later and eliminate the smell of nail polish in your trash can.
6. CANDLE TO WAX MELTS! This one is similar to the crayon method above. It's nearly impossible to use ALL the wax in the bottom of a candle by burning, but there is a way. Put "spent" candles on a cookie sheet in the oven at 175-200 degrees F. Twist up the plastic tubes about 3/4 way to the top. Once the candle wax is melted, use hot pads to remove from the oven and pour into the twist-up tube. Allow to cool completely. Once cool, twist up the remainder of the tube and remove the formed wax and use it in your wax warmer!
7. TOOTHPICK DISPENSER! This one is simple but useful. Twist the tube all the way down and fill the container with toothpicks (or even cotton swabs). Use the twist-up feature to easily get a toothpick or cotton swab and replace the cap to keep them clean between uses.
8. CONVERTIBLE MEASURING CUP! For this one make sure the tube is twisted all the way down. Measure how much liquid will fit at varying depths and use it as an all-in-one measuring spoons set. This one is super easy for kids to use but also cuts down on the dishes and mess involved with baking and measuring.
9. SEASONING SHAKER! We're probably not the only ones growing a garden this year, especially with the stay-at-home orders in place. Be sure to save any extra herbs you have coming out of the garden this year and dry them. Take a clean and dry twist-up tube and remove the lid. Carefully drill small holes at the very top of the lid and wash it thoroughly. Placed dried, crushed herbs in the tube, replace the lid and use as a seasoning shaker! Dry erase markers work well on these tubes to label what's inside.
10. MARGARITA POPS! Last but certainly not least is MY favorite one. Mix up a batch of your favorite margarita or summery drink recipe. Pour the mixture into a clean twist-up tube, fill to the top rim, and put the lid back on. Place tubes in the freezer for a few hours until completely frozen. VOILA! Margarita Pops for a hot summer day! We also use these for regular homemade popsicles for the kids using plain orange juice, apple juice or other fruit juice you have on hand. Is it Friday yet?
I hope you can enjoy some of these fun projects at home, while also reducing waste. Don't forget that these tubes are BPA free and 100% recyclable, so when you decide you're finished with them, be sure to recycle. This list of 10 is certainly not exhaustive! Tag us on Facebook @bee-ochorganics or Instagram @organic_beeoch with your fun and creative re-uses for our tubes! Drop your comments below and let us know what you think.