Whether it’s storage for your books, shelves for some home décor pieces, or even an herb planter, there’s plenty you can do with milk crates.
If you’re looking for some, you may want to know whether you can get free milk crates. Plastic milk crates are, surprisingly expensive. Walmart and Amazon sell them for as much as $25 per crate!
Obviously, you can’t just go take them from where you see them. There are laws in place that make it illegal to just take them.
Milk crate theft can be a problem for dairies and stores in the US.
Each year, the dairy industry loses around 20 to 25 million crates, worth $80 million to $100 million. That’s why milk crate theft is taken so seriously.
Some people see milk crates just lying outside stores and think of this as an invitation to take one for personal use.
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The law, however, treats this as milk crate theft.
And it’s taken pretty seriously. While the exact penalty varies from state to state, the discovery of stolen milk crates can result in fines of between $200 and $1000.
For example, the Pennsylvania Law Act No. 37 1987, says that the unauthorized use of milk cases can result in a fine of $300 or imprisonment up to 90 days!
You obviously don’t want to break the law and face fines or even jail time, right?
So what can you do?
Well, it’s all about making sure you ASK first!
What will I learn?
How Can You Get Free Milk Crates?
The best way to get your hands on some milk crates without having to pay for them is by asking stores. Besides their original use which was shipping and storing dairy products, Milk crates are also used as shipping and product storage containers. So stores usually have a lot of them.
Rather than just taking crates, which is considered theft, get in touch with some stores and just ask them if they have any crates they’d be willing to give you.
So where can you ask?
If you want to know where to get free milk crates, ask at these places:
1. Grocery stores
When it comes to free shipping supplies like containers, and in this case, plastic or wooden milk crates, your local grocery store is a great place to check first.
Some grocery stores that have milk delivered may be willing to part with some crates.
2. Convenience stores
Again, since these stores sell milk, they may have crates to give you.
3. Restaurants and cafes
Just visit local eateries and ask.
4. Catering companies
Another place you could consider asking is at a catering company.
Please do ensure that the person giving the milk crates to you has the legal right to do so! These crates may be owned by a third-party company that HASN’T given you the right to take them. Make sure it’s all above board because you don’t want to face fines or worse, jail time.
5. Factories & manufacturers near you
Factories are one of the first places I check when looking for free wooden pallets near me. Now, when it comes to milk crates, most may not have any since they probably have no use for milk crates. But some places, depending on the kind of products they manufacture, may use crates as storage or shipping containers. So it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
What About Craigslist?
When it comes to getting freebies near you, Craiglist is one of the best places to look. There are also apps and sites like Craigslist such as OfferUp and Freecycle where people give away free stuff.
So there’s a chance, you’ll find milk crates on there, but I’d be really cautious about that.
You don’t know if the crates that are featured on the site were stolen originally.
Just because you didn’t steal them, doesn’t make them any less stolen. Many crates have a name on them and scraping that off is illegal. So, do be really careful. I would NOT recommend getting them on CL or similar sites.
Why you should buy Milk Crates for cheap instead
The best way to get milk crates is to buy them.
Yes, if you’re short on cash this can be annoying, but getting a fine, or even facing jail time (yes that’s a possibility with milk crate theft) is really not worth it. Especially when you consider that you can pick up milk crates for less than $10 a piece.
Where to Buy Cheap Milk Crates
Here are some places to buy milk crates for cheap:
Milk Crates Direct – As low as $4.99
You can find milk crates at SUPER low prices at Milk Crates Direct. You can get 6 of them for just $29.99. This works out at just $4.99 each!
The boxes are made in the USA and come in all sorts of different colors.
- Get your milk crates here.
Target – As low as $7.99
Target is one of the best places to get milk crates for cheap. On there, you can pick one up for just $7.99. It’s black so it will go with lots of décor styles, meaning it could fit your home well.
- Get your milk crate here.
Dollar Tree – As low as $1
Sure, you might not find your traditional milk crates at Dollar Tree. But the store does offer a huge selection of plastic storage options you can use instead.
And the best part is that they cost just a $1 apiece. If it’s storage containers you’re after, I’d highly recommend you check out Dollar Tree. And don’t forget to read our tips on how to save money at Dollar Tree.
- Get your plastic storage containers here.
Home Depot – As low as $8.98
You can pick up black milk crates for just $8.98 at Home Depot. They’re heavy duty too, so you’ll be able to use them for everything from storing vinyl records to organizing your closet!
- Get your milk crates here.
Walmart – As low as $11.08
You can get a black milk crate from Walmart for as low as $11.08.
- Get your milk crate here.
Simple Tricks for Saving Money on Milk Crates
Buying crates is definitely your best option. That way, you don’t have to worry about breaking the law.
Like I said, you can find them for really low prices at the stores above.
That being said, there are a couple of things you can do to save even more money.
Shop through a cashback website
These sites offer cashback at lots of stores. So you could save some money.
Here are a few to consider:
Coupons can save you a whole lot of cash when you’re buying crates.
Here are some sites to find coupons:
Getting free milk crates isn’t as simple as just taking them from outside of a store. Like I said above, there are laws in place to deter people from just taking them and you could face fines if you’re caught taking milk crates without permission.
That’s why it’s so important to be careful.
Always ask first. But even then, be sure that the crates don’t belong to a third-party company that hasn’t given the employee permission to give them away.
I would highly recommend that you buy your milk crates instead. You can get them for really low prices, particularly at Target and Milk Crates direct. And don’t discount the Dollar Tree either. The store has some awesome plastic baskets, crates, and other storage solutions that will cost you just $1!
Remember, getting something for free is NOT worth it if it can result in fines. If you’ve been wondering where to get free milk crates, visit the stores (or websites) above, because while they may not be entirely free, you’ll still get a great deal on crates.
Honestly, “asking the store / restaurant” isn’t the safest way to ensure no legal trouble…..
I drive / deliver dairy products. Those products arrive at the schools, stores, bakeries, etc in milk crates. Each delivery, I pick up the empty ones and take them back to the warehouse (so they be refilled & used again). “The store or restaurant” manager may not care and give permission to take them, but the crates are technically not *their* property to decide to give away so their permission is pretty much useless. A person may be able to claim ignorance “I asked the store and they said it was ok”, but I wouldn’t bank on it (possession of stolen property, even if you’re unaware it was “stolen” / honestly feel you had the required permission, is still a crime)
I know a person who has Publix empty crates on the porch..It’s write on the crate the use is prohibited by law..