Introduction: The Milk Bag...Tired of Being Treated Like Yesterdays Trash!

Picture of The Milk Bag...Tired of Being Treated Like Yesterdays Trash!

A CHALLENGE - Stop throwing out milk bags. Stop buying freezer and sandwich bags. Reuse the milk bags and wait for the surplus to start building up.

I noticed that the actual bag that carries the milk is not recyclable in my community and I can see why. It is however an extremely useful little tool that you pay for, discard, and readily pay for a substandard substitute on a daily basis.

Manufacturers go to great lengths to provide high quality, "industrial strength" packaging to ensure their product arrives to you, the end consumer, safely. You wouldn't have it any other way and you pay for it. The problem arises when you throw this away and replace it with an expensive "consumer grade" product. The milk bag is an excellent example of this. There are many more, I'm sure.

The lowly, food grade, extremely tear resistant, stretchable, cuttable, waterproof, thick walled and well bonded milk bag. We throw this away, alot, and buy cheap sandwich and freezer bags that leak or easily burst at the seams for outrageous prices considering my opinion of product failure. The milk bag has uses beyond just a bag due to its unbelievable strength. Trust me, try to stretch it with any sort of control and you'll see what I mean. Like I said..."Industrial Strength" not wimpy little whiney, "I wish I could live up to your expectations" consumer strength.

What you need: 1 milk bag
scissors (optional)

Step 1: Wash, Rinse, Dry

Picture of Wash, Rinse, Dry

Wash, rinse and dry thoroughly as you would any dish to remove any leftover milk residue.

To dry properly, the bag must be expanded to keep the sides apart and stood vertically or hung. I finally found aother use for that wire banana stand.

Note - Cutting the top of the bag open at this point will make washing and drying easier, but it will limit the uses later.

Step 2: Open End Uses

Picture of Open End Uses

If the end of the bag is opened, it can be used in the place of any bag of similar size. It conveniently fits sandwiches and most single serving meat portions wonderfully. It's strength allows you to jam things in with a little more vigor than most other bags making it useful for storing semisolids such as ground beef or dough or as a piping bag.

Use as a grow bag for hanging or potted plants by perforating it to allow for drainage.

Step 3: "Unopen" End Bag Uses

Picture of "Unopen" End Bag Uses

If you leave the bag with only the corner removed, it can become a durable gas or liquid container with a little modification. By stretching the corner of the bag that was removed, you can create a filling tube which can then be stretched further to form a filling tube/tie off.

The bag can then be easily filled with air using a straw or equivalent and with liquid using a funnel.

To create the "fill tube", simply and gently stretch the corner from the bag. This will take a short while and will require patience and a little strength. Allow the heat from your hand to soften the plastic and gently pull it allowing it to slip through your fingers to prevent overstretch. Repeat many, many, many times and do not pull too hard or too soft. You'll get it with a little practice and may even develop a better way. This stuff is stronger than you think. PULLLLLL or you will be here all day. If it tears, you will have a replacement soon enough.

Try to keep the stretch as even as possible for strength and extend the tube as far as required to easily tie it off.

Step 4: The Uses Are Limited by Your Needs.

Picture of The Uses Are Limited by Your Needs.

Some of the liquid filled uses are obvious and others are not. To make portions from larger amounts for rationing, transport and/or storage. Camping, emergency supplies, freezing, a paper weight, portable weight bag, a really heavy and throwable water baloon so be careful, etc.

Fill it with gas and you've got an inflatable travel pillow (Try buying a more comfortable or durable one), lumbar support (nice and bouncy), bath pillow, noise maker, 1/30 of a mattress, 1/1000 of a lot of fun if coupled with a pit to fill, a really ugly balloon, a not so ugly balloon with some work and creativity. Duct tape it to your dash board and you've got air bags. I want to fill one with expanding foam inside of a form to make a brick that can be used for building, insulation, a floatation device, or just to throw at someone. Fill with sand to make 1L sand bags.

I didn't even mention it as a source of thick sheet plastic for a multitude of uses.

They are strong, thick, very useful and being needlessly wasted when you think of what the alternatives that we pay for are. You can't stop them all because you do go through a lot and they are not endlessly reusable, but you can reduce a significant amount of unnecessary bags being purchased in the first place if you use your imagination.


PurpleJ3nn (author)2010-11-12

FYI: to the best of my knowledge, the milk bags are only in Canada; the USA uses cartons & jugs. I have friends in the USA who marvel at the milk that comes in bags here in Canada.

countrygiri (author)2009-03-07

yes we have square pizza,though most people get it in a circle XD And it's only -40 in the winter. I don't assume all Americans believe the stereotypical bunk about Canadians,but I've found it quite a few times. (( Like when an American kid came to Canada and was amazed we weren't learning how to be lumberjacks,fur traders or mounties,since that's all we do here hahahahaha)) Anyway this is a great idea,my Grandma has been doing it for years but I shall integrate it into my household. Thank you for this!

dave17 (author)countrygiri2010-05-30

That of course goes both ways.

wiley coyote (author)countrygiri2009-03-08

I have to admit. I kinda stole the freezer bag idea from someone's grandma too, a long time ago and can't remember who. You know, I'll bet we could learn a lot from grandparents. Just a hunch.

countrygiri (author)wiley coyote2009-03-10

I think your right,I learn tons from my gran but sometimes I just don't relize it. Either I get her to teach me,or just while I watch her absently I notice all the little things she does. Grandparents are very helpful

Respect to the elders! :)

wiley coyote (author)countrygiri2009-03-12

I find it pays to be observant. They have years of experience that cannot easily be put into words much of the time. Respect!

bobhill125 (author)wiley coyote2009-04-09

wats a milk bag were does it come from

countrygiri (author)bobhill1252009-04-10

A milk bag is as the name suggests- a bag of milk.There is three clear plastic one litre bags of milk that come in another bag.You put the clear plastic bags into a pitcher,cut off a corner so you can pour milk and vola! You have your milk! It is used in other places I'm sure,but it is in Canada in normal grocery stores. I read other comments and found out that there aren't any in the USA,unless you go to some sort of specialty store.

thematthatter (author)2008-05-20

what country do you live in where consumer milk comes in bags? In the states ours comes in rigid plastic or paper cartons except bulk milk used in restaurants and other large eating establishments.

you can find milk in a bag that's inside a box in Wal-mart. Although I don't advocate shopping at Wal-mart! I live Texas if you were wondering..

Can you take a picture of it with your cell phone or something Also there is going to be a plant code some where on the box. Its going to be at least 4 to 6 numbers long and will probably start with 48. Can you write that down as well?

haha....well I really loathe going within 1/2 a mile of that particular place but I might be able to work something out for you. I'll get back to you on that. Although I will NOT buy any of this because I refuse to spend money there. So you would only be able to see the box.

dave17 (author)infamyseemsshort2010-05-30

Don't worry!I spend more than enough at Walmart to make up for you.

I used to work in my college's dining commons and those huge milk bags were impossible to handle. It was like carrying a giant octopus. Once another student worker dropped one and it flooded half the dining room.

I bet. dont they hold like 3 gallons?

blodefood (author)thematthatter2009-06-03

4 litres, actually.

In Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa - we always had plastic bottles for milk.. but here in Uruguay the milk is bagged.... but the bags are all coloured and printed...... i wonder what else we can do with 'em...!?

issaandbri (author)thematthatter2008-12-21

I live in Canada and we get milk like that here.

dukie (author)thematthatter2008-11-07

In India, most milk or liquid dairy products (custards, yohurts) come in bags, they come in giant tanks to the milk shop and get packaged there. There's usually 2 or 3 deliveries a day and everything is sold at the end of the day. It's mostly because refrigeration is expensive where I was so not many private homes have fridges.

thematthatter (author)dukie2008-11-07

That is interesting.

buddah444 (author)thematthatter2008-05-24

In Wisconsin, milk has been available in bags since the mid 90's. Purchased in various grocery stores by the half gallon as an alternative to cut consumer waste.

DeimosOne (author)buddah4442008-07-06

Why is she pouring it into the holder?? The holder is to hold the whole bag of milk, not just its contents!! They may spoil faster like that!! Silly woman :S

Tetranitrate (author)buddah4442008-05-29

That woman is way too happy about pouring milk.

blam72 (author)thematthatter2008-05-20

While, yes, you won't find bagged milk at your local grocery store, actually bagged milk is pretty common in the US. You find it at farmers markets and similar locations.

hmm... can i get it in nyc?

I would assume so, but I don't know for certain

casey321b (author)2008-05-20

are they inside the milk boxes? like rice milk or soy milk??? I think it is

baconfish (author)casey321b2008-05-20

I don't think it's been covered already, but just to blow your minds even further:
When we buy our bags of milk, they come in ANOTHER BAG.

Yes my friends, it's true. We buy bags of milk (3) and it comes *inside* another bag. The more you know.

Isn't it hard to pour?

It really isn't. In fact, the spout (made by cutting a small hole in the corner of the bag) makes it alot easier to pour milk than plastic jugs. I, for one, really hate it when I finish pouring milk out of a new jug and it starts dripping down the outside or collecting in the threads of the cap and drying up. The fact that people are intrigued or confused by milk bags is hilarious. It's milk, people :)

There's no way to seal/cover it?

I'm sure you could put a clip on it or something if you really wanted to, but it's no problem to just leave the (small) hole as it is. Just put the milk back in the fridge when you're done.

But doesn't it leak all over? I mean, do you set the bag upright in some container to keep the spout at the top? I can't see just tossing a bag of milk with a hole in it on the shelf and it not leaking all over the place.

You put the bag in a pitcher (says Wikipedia). Google bagged milk you'll see what I mean.

funniest thread ever. Theres also a handy way of storing bagged milk, so it's not just lying there taking up much space.. You stack the bags in a plastic container with a hole in the bottom to pull one out, here, I took a picture of mine.

Goodhart (author)DeimosOne2009-06-21

That looks like an older version of the soda can holder, is it?

noble230 (author)DeimosOne2008-05-22

that is awesome

DeimosOne (author)noble2302008-07-06


dukie (author)baconfish2008-11-07

Like making dry bags out of any plastic bag, fold 3-4 folds tightly at the opening (ie close the opening and fold downwards), then clip adaquately, I normally use clothes pegs on my travels. It holds liquids in or out for a few days if you do it right...i really should make an instructable on this

Some holders have a little slit where you'd normally pour from, so once you are finished pouring from the bag, you shove the corner where it was cut off, into the slit and it seals fairly well. Bulk places sell milk like this all that time.

You buy a holder that looks like a pitcher. Set the bag inside it, clip off the corner and pour. I have seen some nice ceramic holders made in pottery classes, too. You can improvise with a small pitcher that will hold the bag, though.

TheMoonMaster (author)2008-05-24

Yo Adrian! I Live in Canada and I have never once seen a milk bag or a square pizza. Being American or whatever other nationality you may be I bet that you also asume that we live in igloos and its -40 year round. ITS NOT TUE

I've BEEN to Canada and EATEN the square pizzas and BOUGHT the sacked milk!

I went to Mont Saint-sauveur, a skiing place in Montreal, Quebec (I highly recommend it!).

Tobita (author)Lithium Rain2009-06-16

haha, i live not even 20 minutes away at st. adolphe!

camscam (author)TheMoonMaster2008-10-19

I live in California and I have never seen a "milk bag" either. I don't think they are common in the states. And besides I know Canada from "The kids in the Hall" no igloos ;)

It currently is Tue, and will be once a week until they change the way we do days.

data23 (author)TheMoonMaster2008-05-28

THAT IS NOT ASSUMED! I (and all my friends) have since I found out bout Canada (age 4) have assumed that they are much like Americans except different govt and cooler mountain rangers!(except for far north Canada and Alaska) And I'm from Tennessee, where the coldest it gets is the rare 20 degrees every 3 years. Don't assume what we assume.

data23 (author)data232008-05-28

And I've been to Canada too. I also think that you're cool.

FreshPineSent (author)2008-05-21

Is it true that in cold prts of the world, milk is sold in frozen cubes?

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