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Mom shares ingenious hack to grow fresh food while repurposing plastic waste: 'If it works, it works'

"Using what you have! I'm here for this."

"Using what you have! I'm here for this."

Photo Credit: TikTok

If you have eco-guilt every time you throw plastic milk jugs out, this hack might help clear your conscience.

TikToker Tiny Waste (@tiny_waste), who describes herself as a mom trying to shrink her waste, shared how you can repurpose milk jugs.

@tiny_waste #greenhouse #usewhatyouhave #lowwastelifestyle #gardentok ♬ original sound - Tiny Waste

The scoop

If you have a family who loves milk, chances are you have a few extra milk jugs lying around. Why not reuse them to grow some vegetables?

"I've seen loads of people on the internet do it. … Maybe it won't work, but what do I have to lose? At least I'm trying to reuse these milk jugs instead of sending them to a landfill," the creator says as she shows viewers how she cut one of the jugs. 

To start, grab some scissors and cut a few holes in the bottom of each jug for drainage. Next, cut around the bottom third of the container and leave a small portion as a hinge. 

Then, pour in your soil or compost, add the seeds of your choice, and push them gently into the soil. Finally, lightly water the seeds, tape up the jugs, and label them with the date so you can know when your seed should sprout. 

"Not exactly how I pictured my homestead era starting, but if it works, it works," she concludes, panning over the milk jug mini-greenhouses and a plastic bin filled with numerous seeded plants.

How it's helping

Reusing old milk jugs to grow your own food will help you save money while giving you access to vegetables that will almost certainly be fresher than store-bought varieties. In addition, you'll save time shopping for groceries, which is a huge bonus if you have young kids like the video creator. 

According to our guide, an initial gardening investment of just $70 could net 300 pounds of fresh food per year worth $600. But even if you grow a fraction of that, any savings are worth the effort. 

Reducing or recycling plastic waste can also have a positive ripple effect on the world around you. 

According to Our World in Data, the world produces almost 500 million tons of plastic annually, and only 9% gets recycled. By repurposing plastic milk jugs, you're keeping polluting materials out of the environment and contributing to a cleaner, happier planet. 

Protecting our environment from plastic waste, in turn, can help safeguard communities from dangerous weather events driven by our warming planet and reduce the amount of microplastics contaminating the global food and water supply. 

If you have old stuff you'd like to get rid of, hundreds of companies will either give you store credit or cash for swapping it out or even help you upcycle it for free. Donating it, selling it in online marketplaces like eBay, or supporting circular brands are great options for your wallet and the planet.

What everyone's saying

Commenters raved about the planet-friendly hack, and some shared their experiences trying it out.

"Yayyyy how cool!!" one person said.

"Using what you have! I'm here for this," another remarked with two hand-clapping emojis.

Another said: "I'm almost embarrassed of all the plastic containers I've been hoarding for seed starts. Hey, it's something, right?"  

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