Recycle food containers for houseplants and seedlings | Tri-State Neighbor

Recycle food containers for houseplants and seedlings

If family or friends are hosting a celebration with meals from a caterer, ask them to save the sturdy disposable trays used for serving food. Place the trays or the clear lids under houseplants to protect tables and floors.

In my opinion, among the most unnecessary things for sale in stores are flimsy transparent plastic trays, sold for up to $6 apiece, to place under potted plants. Am I wrong to view that as a waste of money and resources? Shallow food containers and old plates are free and work just as well. At the moment I’m using a castoff rigid plastic catering tray, set on a plant stand to create a table of sorts. It’s strong enough to hold my spider plant, and it prevents drips from reaching the floor.

Wilted lettuce or broccoli? If you have limp romaine lettuce or broccoli, don’t throw it out, says R.L. of Crooks, S.D. Instead, revive it: Cut off the stem end of romaine and stick the whole stalk in a tall container for support with 1-1/2 inches of water. Separate broccoli into florets and stand the florets in a shallow container with water. Then cover and refrigerate until the veggies perk up.

People are also reading…

X marks the egg: Mark hard boiled eggs with an X on the top to distinguish them from raw eggs in the same carton, R.L. also writes.

Frozen spuds: If you receive food boxes from organizations such as Feeding South Dakota, you might have more frozen French fries than you know what to do with. However, you don’t have to eat them just as fries. Cut them up and use them in soups, chowders, or potato casseroles. Packaged fries are blanched and partially fried before freezing; keep in mind they won’t take as long to cook as fresh potatoes.

Need help with groceries? If you’re a South Dakotan, visit and click on your county’s name to learn when and where Feeding South Dakota’s mobile food pantry will be distributing in your area. If you live elsewhere in the Tri-State Neighbor reading area, visit or and click “Find a food bank.”

When you’ve got to go: If you have a camper with a toilet and blackwater tank, you already know it’s important to use bathroom tissue that dissolves. But it’s not necessary to buy expensive toilet paper specially made for RVs. Buy a cheap brand, or a brand that is clearly marked “septic safe,” and then test it. Put a square of tissue in a jar of water and swirl it around. If it eventually degrades, it is safe to use in your camper bathroom. According to, regular Scott brand single-ply toilet tissue is RV safe.

TV monitor: An unneeded television set makes a good spare computer monitor.

Greeting cards: Some relatives of mine started a fun, silly greeting card tradition. One of them would buy a hilarious birthday card, sign, and mail it to a sibling with a birthday. That sibling would save the card, add his or her signature, and mail at the next sibling’s birthday time, and so on down the line. Eventually the card would make its way to all five siblings, each of whom enjoyed a chuckle and knew they’d done their part for recycling.

Cleaning products: If your cleaning supply cabinet is cluttered, take an assessment before buying anything more. Can you save money by using some of the products for other purposes? Maybe unused  floor cleaner or powdered cleanser could be used for scrubbing toilet bowls or garbage cans. Perhaps you have glass or countertop spray that works equally well for sinks and floors. Just be sure to read the labels and not combine chlorine and ammonia products, which will produce a deadly gas.

Correction: The cottage pie recipe in my May 6 column contained extra material at the end that was inadvertently included when the page was designed. The paragraph about the slow cooker was not part of the recipe. Also, the recipe credit was incorrect. The correct source is HelloFresh.

Please share your moneysaving hints by writing to [email protected]

Sheri Poore grew up on a Day County dairy farm and is a former Tri-State Neighbor editor now living in Sioux Falls. 

About the author