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!