Make a dinghy bailer from an empty jug instead of having it take up space in the trash.

More Trash Management

Plastic bottles, such as ones for vinegar, laundry and cleaning supplies take up a bunch of space in the trash.  There really isn’t a good way to crush them, unless you cut them into small pieces.  That takes forever.

So what can you do with them?

Jugs like these are another candidate for repurposing (read about repurposing Parmesan cheese canisters).  They make great dinghy bailers:

Make a dinghy bailer from an empty jug instead of having it take up space in the trash.

If the bottle has held soap or something else you don’t want all over, be sure to rinse it out before cutting off the bottom.

Depending on how thick the plastic is, you can cut it with good kitchen shears (my usual tactic), use a serrated knife (not good for the knife, though, so don’t use your good one), or cut it with a hacksaw (Dave’s technique).

So that you don’t lose it out of the dinghy, use about 4 feet of 1/8″ cord and tie one end around the handle and the other to something in the dinghy.

Okay, so you probably can’t use all your empty jugs this way . . . but it’s at least one less in the trash!

I'd like to know about...

Explore more

Want weekly tidbits of cruising information? Sign up for The Boat Galley's free weekly newsletter. You'll get the newest articles and podcasts as well as a few relevant older articles that you may have missed.

Do you find The Boat Galley useful? You can support the site when you buy from Amazon by using the links on this site or clicking below. No extra cost for you!

15 Comments
  • Bruce
    Posted at 09 May 2012 Reply

    If you cut the bottom off the heavy plastic jug about a half inch up from the curve, the top can be used as a bailer as mentioned – but the bottom makes a dandy scrubber for cleaning marine growth off of hulls as long as it hasn’t built up too much.

    • Cynthia
      Posted at 12 November 2012 Reply

      I have often purchased full containers with my future idea in mind. If I must buy the large sized container for laundry detergent then I purchase the one with the handle going the correct direction for my re-purpose idea from the beginning. Not all containers will work for you. Figure out what you want your empty container to become, mark the area to be cut with a marker or wax pen, cut out those areas, spouts, openings, etc,, smooth the cut edges for any plastic burs. As long as you leave the original handle connected, preferably in the center, it keeps the container sturdy and makes a great grip due to the fact it’s thicker there. I have a used an x-large blue “All” laundry detergent bottle for years to hold small stuff needed quickly, (horns, rope) or to catch smaller items from falling to the bottom of the locker. Water won’t hurt it, square in shape so it fits in the locker. Best of all it’s FREE.

  • Jim Shell
    Posted at 24 December 2012 Reply

    On our cruises, we cut the top off of all cans and bottles. The bottom is placed upright in the trash and becomes a strudy recepticle for further trash. The top, or lid, can be put in the bottom. At least this keeps our trash more compact. We laugh now as we describe to our friends that instead of cruising from anchorage to anchorage, we cruise form trash can to trash can.

  • Lupari Sue
    Posted at 20 May 2014 Reply

    Been doing this for ages, then don’t pine if we lose it .

  • Bill Dixon
    Posted at 01 November 2015 Reply

    I like the square half gallon milk bottles for bailers. They.lay flat on the floor, get more water out.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 01 November 2015 Reply

      Square ones ARE best! But milk is about the only thing that comes in square bottles, and Dave’s allergic to milk so we never have it.

    • Bill Dixon
      Posted at 01 November 2015 Reply

      If we get to Marathon, I will give you some.

  • Gloria Rooney
    Posted at 01 November 2015 Reply

    Square olive oil jugs are great for this too and seem a bit stiffer. And don’t forget that you can use the top of 2 liter bottles as a funnel.

  • Dave Tew
    Posted at 01 November 2015 Reply

    Been doing this for fifty years.

  • Kristine Henson
    Posted at 01 November 2015 Reply

    Those fresh citrus plastic square jars are the same ones you pay $$ for empty. So I buy the citrus, enjoy it, and reuse the jar for dry cereal, etc.

  • Hazel Peterson
    Posted at 23 February 2017 Reply

    Milk type products, laundry soap and other items are often cheaper per use/serving as a powder. Easier to store too, and less plastic trash is a bonus.

    • Skyler Hanson
      Posted at 24 February 2017 Reply

      have you seen the price of powdered milk lately

  • John Norman
    Posted at 23 February 2017 Reply

    Use to make these fifty years ago here is my current one,so far it’s 3 years old and yes I use it often

  • Skyler Hanson
    Posted at 24 February 2017 Reply

    love all your great tips

Post A Comment