Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rethink | Refuse | Reuse: Glass Jars, Take 2

Some of the ways I like to reuse things are so dead simple that it doesn't even occur to me to talk about it. But our new Rethink - Refuse - Reuse series reminded me to pass on a very easy, and very functional, way of keeping your glass out of a landfill.

(Yes, glass is recyclable, but people often overlook the fact that recycling something takes a pretty substantial amount of energy. It's almost always better to find a new use for existing items when we can. Reduce and Reuse should be the headliners in the way we deal with waste, with Recycle playing a small part when necessary.)

I store just about everything in my kitchen in glass jars leftover from groceries I've bought. (The process is pretty easy: soak the label off in some hot soapy water, and eliminate any lingering smells from, say, pasta sauce, by letting some white vinegar sit in it for a few hours.) Glass is easy to clean and doesn't pick up smells the way plastic does. It's great at preserving dry goods, pasta, spices, and snacks, and looks beautiful besides. And I've never understood the allure of buying an expensive set of matching glass containers when I get lovely ones for free pretty much every time I go to the store. (Personally, I think the mismatched jars can look charming, and if you're like me and buy the same brand of peanut butter all the time, you'll probably have a matching set sooner than you think!)

Of course you can't save every single glass jar that comes your way. But a little goes a long way, and keeping even 5% of your waste out of that fossil-fuel-using recycling truck is a big move. You might be surprised at how much use you get out of that old olive jar!


Sunnymommie said...

that is great idea! I want asking you something, Is that ok or safe to spray paint on top lid of jar? to match color or decor.


abby kelly said...

Yes, it should be OK to paint the lids - especially since they presumably won't be touching the contents of the jar. Just look for a spray paint or similar that's appropriate for using on metal, and try to give it plenty of time to dry/ off-gas in a well-ventilated area before you use it in your kitchen.

Veshengro said...

It is amazing how many people in fact will buy those expensive storage jars and such instead of using what you get sort-of free from the store when you buy things in glass jars.

Have been doing this for ages and ages already and never, though, worried about paining any lids, LOL.

M Smith (Editor)

Glass Jars said...

Thanks for the post. There is a lot of different uses for glass jars as well as storing dry food in them, a lot of our customers use the smaller jars in there garage for storing things like nuts and bolts, larger jars make good money boxes and we have even had a few insert photos into the jars and use them for decorative purposes

abby kelly said...

Thanks for the suggestions - all great ideas!

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