green living

creative recycling with baby formula tins

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It’s nice when ideas just come together. Inspiration strikes and two unrelated concepts slide neatly together to create a working solution that seems so obvious you wonder why you didn’t think if it earlier.

Thanks to my malfunctioning mammaries, we have a growing collection of formula tins. Such a useful sized tin, I just can’t bring myself to throw the them out (in the recycling bin, of course). I know, I know, I’m going to have to eventually, after all, we go through about one a week so by the time bub stops needing formula we’ll have collected over 50 of the things.

So apart from the obvious (using the tins as containers for other stuff), I’ve been looking for ideas to reuse the tins.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the fact that the only part of our garden that gets sun for a good portion of the year is the fence. A hanging garden had come to mind to make the most of this sunny space.

And that is where my two problems intersect into a free (or very cheap) hanging formula tin garden. What do you think?

I sprayed the tin with some cheap white paint for aesthetics sake and DH punched some holes in the bottom for drainage and a hole in the side to hang the tin to the fence. The tin is then hung on a screw. My original idea was to wire the tin to the fence and we may still have to because I’m wondering if the tin will sway around on very windy days. I planted some rosemary, the mulch is sugar cane mulch.

The only thing limiting our hanging garden is how much weight the fence will hold. However, I’m thinking of using the wire to grow some beans or something up the fence instead of covering it with pots and that will also make the most of the sunlight.

What are some other uses for formula tins?

  • We have a ‘poo tin’ (affectionately know as Vlad) that the nappy liners and wipes go into when changing bub, for easy disposal (we wash out and reuse the same tin).
  • Use to store different things in the car: spare baby stuff, first aid stuff, car repair stuff etc
  • Punch holes and use as a candle holder
  • Store CDs
  • Instructables has this idea for making a storage unit from the tins
  • Make rope stilts
  • Store: food, hardware, craft, toys. Decorate the outside of the tin to suggest what is inside.
  • Decorate and use as gift wrapping for hard to wrap presents or for food gifts
  • Cut a slot in the lid and use as a piggy bank
  • Motherhood for dummies suggests using it as a date night container: keep a bunch of date night ideas in the can and pull one out for date night. This could also work for kids games etc.

Do you have a fetish for keeping formula or other tins? What are some ideas that you have for reusing tins?


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  1. I use my formula containers as cannisters in the kitchen. They are great for storing excess baking products.

    I have done something similar to your hanging garden using tin cans an old pallet that a nearby business was throwing out. The pallet leans against the fence and is held on up the top by a couple of brackets and the plants are planted into the cans and the cans are screwed onto the pallet. This stops them from becomming too heavy on the fence. It also look quite rustic and is a feature of the garden

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