Trash management on a boat includes "re-purposing" empty containers . . . and these Parmesan cans are great for lots of other things!

That’s Not Trash!

Trash management on a boat includes a lot of “re-purposing” — why buy a new container when you can use something that was otherwise destined for the trash?

Those empty plastic shaker bottles – like the one for shredded Parmesan cheese above – are great to reuse for stuff that doesn’t come in such nice containers . . . but should.

In particular, we “re-purpose” these for powdered cleanser that comes in foil covered cardboard containers with holes in the top.  Those have two problems – the holes in the top (you can cover them with tape, but the powder makes the tape not want to stick well) and the foil doesn’t keep serious humidity from penetrating the can and turning the powder into a rock-hard blob.

I just cut the top off the cleanser and pour it into the cheese container.  While the container isn’t super strong plastic, it’ll last several years.  And the snap-down top actually fits quite tightly and my experience is that the contents stay powdery instead of turning to concrete.  I’ve never had one pop open on its own.

I use another one for what I’ll call “cleaning” baking soda (in other words, not what I use in cooking) – I like to keep a shaker of it for use in the sinks and in the head in general – it provides a bit of scrubbing power along with absorbin odors.

I’ve also found that they work well to slip a “sleeve” of Ritz-type crackers into to take on a hike.  While the shaker top is unimportant, the plastic bottle keeps the crackers from getting crushed in the day pack.

Anybody have other uses for these??

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  • Chris Bart on Facebook
    Posted at 01 May 2012 Reply

    Great tip! Good way to contain messes while cleaning and chopping veggies and fruit!

  • Stephen R Gagin on Facebook
    Posted at 01 May 2012 Reply

    Outstanding. Thanks for the tip.

  • Waterwoman
    Posted at 01 May 2012 Reply

    It amazes me how you continue to come up with such good ideas!

    Thanks, Carolyn.

  • Katie and Mark
    Posted at 01 May 2012 Reply

    Great ideas Carolyn – if you could get everyone following in your footsteps the waste and plastic in the world would be cut by magnitudes!

  • Debie Petersen
    Posted at 05 May 2014 Reply

    The plastic containers that lunch meats come in are also good for sandwiches. Cut them in half and stack them in the conatiners. I use these when I go camping.

  • stephanie
    Posted at 05 May 2014 Reply

    you DO have just the BEST ideas! i LOVE this one. but….i would have to buy that crappy parmesan cheese to get one and there is no way i’m going to use that stuff. i will have to find a friend who has some and will let me have the container! awesome!

  • Peggy Arnone Van Sleen
    Posted at 06 May 2014 Reply

    Coffee bags! Re seal… Air and water tight

  • Ginni Gormley
    Posted at 22 August 2014 Reply

    We recently had reason to check the fuel content for possible “junk” in the barely accessible fuel line located under our bed in the aft cabin. We tried various containers to catch the fuel in an almost inaccessible space without spilling it and then spied the tall, skinny, clear 12 oz. bottle in the recyclables. We cut the top off at an angle and “Viola!” Fuel captured with no spillage, visible for inspection!

  • Becky
    Posted at 26 June 2016 Reply

    I refill those cheese shakers with almond slivers or seeds for sprinkling on salads. I cut the top portions off quart juice bottles to set other liquid bottles in so the larger bottle bottom catches drips. They can also hold sponges, cut to the size you need. I love to “re-purpose!” Great topic, Carol!

  • Diane Mercaldo
    Posted at 31 July 2016 Reply

    Love the ideas here.

  • Linda Stevenson
    Posted at 04 May 2017 Reply

    I keep small portions of sugar, flour, seeds/nuts/flaked coconut handy and seperate and apart from my larger storages that are less accessible.

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