We all throw them away all the time. Why not put meat trays to use, there are a lot of great ways to keep them out of the landfill.
It is amazing how many paper plates and other disposable items people go through on a regular basis to save time for themselves. They feel if they can throw the item away, it gets rid of the dirt and they don't have to worry about washing. Well okay, but there are some of those things we throw away that can actually be reused for other things. A good example of this are meat trays. You now, those lovely styro-foam trays your meat comes on from the store.
Quick lunch plates-
Heading out for a picnic? Why not save small meat trays and turn them into plates to eat off of. The foam is quite sturdy and can handle a great deal of weight. So if you have big eaters, the trays will stand up to the amount of food they might pile on.
Because the foam is sealed, it can be washed and used again. The other great thing, they come in a wide range of colors. Light blue, black, yellow, pink.
There are even some trays that have a high lip on the side, these work great for salads. You can cover them with some plastic wrap for easy transporting.
Do you give out cookies and things during the holidays? Collect up some of the meat trays and then use them for your goodies. You don't need to worry about spending out any money and you can have the kids decorate the bottoms of the plates to give them a holiday touch. Simply wrap in some colored plastic wrap and the goodies are ready for delivery.
Holiday relish trays-
If you purchase large quanties of meat, family size, then you have a great tray to use as a relish tray during the holidays. This is a great way to take goodies over for a potluck as well, you don't have to worry about the tray being cleaned and returned.
You have probably seen hundreds of the styro-foam planes being sold at different concession stands at games and things, well, they are priced pretty high for a simple little piece of styro foam. Did you know you can make your own? That's right. Draw a simple body design then the tail fins and wings. Cut a slit in about the middle of the body design for the wings to slide through, then do the same for the tail fins. Put the plane together and send it zooming around a room. This can make a great stocking stuffer for kids around the holidays.
Our budding young artists will like this one. You can use a meat tray for paint mixing. They are sturdy and they work well for mixing paint on. Depending on the type of paint, they can be washed and reused as well.
Drawer catch all-
Do you have a drawer in your kitchen that catches all the junk. Take several trays and designate zones in the drawer for different things. You can color code the areas if you have different colors of trays. Smaller trays work great for spare change, paperclips, push pins, etc. Larger ones for small tools.
Kids have so much fun with the crazy shapes that you can buy in the stores, but after a while, they get expensive. Why not make your own foam cut outs. All you need is a thin marker, pair of scissors and a little creativity. You can even use cookie cutters for the shapes. Have the kids make their own fun foam shapes.
When you were in school your teacher probably had you make home made frames, the meat trays were what were usually used for this project. Carry on the tradition by having your children create some fun frames that they can share with grandpa and grandma. Don't forget a picture!
Muddy Shoe mats-
If you have little ones, you can get away with using meat trays for them to put their dirty shoes on. These work great during the wet times of the year when the mud just flows like crazy. So keep a few larger trays handy for catching all the mud and keeping it off your clean floors. When the shoes are dry, you can actually dump the dirt off and reuse them for the next time. But. given how light they are, you will want to store them some place safe.
For bigger feet you will have to use two trays, one for each shoe. But, they will still protect your floor.