In a previous post we looked at non-toxic popsicle molds. Then I got an email question about popsicle molds, asking if homemade molds might not be more eco-friendly than non-toxic popsicle molds you buy.
Maybe… in terms of reuse but there’s a big BUT involved here.
Homemade popsicle holders may be good because you get to reuse stuff you already have on hand, thus saving you money and saving the resources it takes to make new popsicle molds and ship them to you.
What about the sticks? That’s my issue with homemade molds. Yeah one popsicle stick may not be very large, but imagine an entire summer of sticks stacked up. How many homemade popsicles does you child eat in the summer – how about all year round?
My son can eat three + ice pops a day in the summer and he normally eats one a day even in cooler weather. Got more than one kid? That’s a lot of sticks; we’re talking 500+ for one child. What if every child on your block had 500 sticks. Can you see that pile of wood?! Wooden sticks aren’t very reusable either. You can wash and reuse but in my experience most kids chew them.
Many homemade items you might use for homemade popsicles are oddly shaped and not suitable for kiddos. You’ve got options like…
- Paper cups – what the vast majority of homemade popsicle makers suggest. NOT eco-friendly.
- Plastic cups – what many other people suggest but you have to make sure your plastic cups are BPA free.
- I saw a super cute suggestion which involves mini aluminum baking cups (shown above) but again you’ve got those damn sticks to contend with. You can replace the wooden sticks with reusable spoons – just pick up some random used spoons at your local thrift store.
- Reused yogurt cups – which one, are rather wide and large for a smaller child and two, are also not very eco-friendly. It’s nice to reuse yogurt cups but better if you buy those large containers of organic yogurt rather than tiny cups.
I used to recommend not to use glass of any kind as homemade molds. Getting the ice pop out of glass molds can be tricky and the glass may even break. That said, I have use heavy glass shot glasses for pops and they work ok, especially for creamy popsicles. Little kids often have trouble removing a popsicle from a glass mold though.
The best idea?
I believe ice is not a pop until it has a stick. Sticks help to get the pop out of the mold, prevents icy liquid from getting all over your hands and can be used as a design feature to give your pops style. I collect sticks of all sizes shapes and materials and try them out when making my pops. Wooden coffee stirrers, bamboo barbecue skewers, cocktail stirrers and cocktail picks are available in many forms, colors, shapes and sizes making great aesthetic sticks.
So, if you collect reusable sticks of some sort, say like bamboo skewers or non-plastic cocktail stirrers and then use them with reusable yogurt cups or mini molds you could come out ahead green-wise. However, you’ve got to be careful that kids don’t get sticks that are too small (choking hazard) or too sharp. It could take some hunting to find the perfect reusable mold-stick combo.
All in all, this is why I suggest an excellent set of non-toxic popsicle molds, reusable sticks included. Homemade popsicles should be easy and fun and all this hunting down of safe reusable sticks and molds seems like it would zap the easy right out of homemade ice pops.
That said, I’m not always right. Tell me what you think. Is it greener to use what you have (yogurt cups, etc) than to buy popsicle molds?