I delight in repurposing glass food jars. And I’ve amassed quite a collection, offering just the right sized jar for every need. With the change in global demand for recyclables, reusing and repurposing glass is more important than ever.
We try to buy in glass jars whenever possible; sadly, manufacturers have moved many of the items that used to come in glass jars into plastic, instead. Unlike glass, plastic may retain odors, stain, and, if not food grade, even leach chemicals (especially when heated or scratched) into the food.
One thing I don’t do is use repurposed jars for canning; I stick to my canning jars because other types of glass jars have a greater risk of breakage during canning.
But here are some of the ways that I use other clean, sanitized food jars and bottles:
- Gallon (like pickle) jars: large batch ferments, including beverages like kombucha and tepache
- Quart (like mayonnaise) jars: ferments and storage of ferments including sauerkraut, milk kefir, veggies
- Smaller (like condiment, jam) jars: small batch ferments like veggies, fermented coconut milk/cream, storing wine yeast slurry, extra brine, leftovers from larger jars, soaked muesli
- Glass bottles (like vinegar, carbonated drink): storing homemade wine (wine bottles), raw vinegar (I store in glass that has previously held acidic foods/beverages), carbonated probiotic beverages (in bottles that are intended to withstand pressure)
- Plastic jars (like coconut oil, pretzel): once thoroughly washed and completely dry, I store dry goods like flour, beans, grains, nuts, tea bags – nothing acidic. I generally don’t repurpose plastic nut butter containers because of the difficulty in getting all of the oily residue out, but they do get washed and then go to the recycling center.
Our local recycling center still accepts glass for recycling (for now), but a neighboring city stopped accepting glass recently. Glass!😦 When I discovered that change, my next thought was “what will people do with all that glass if there’s no convenient place to take it?” Honestly, probably throw it away; where I live, other people routinely burn their cardboard outdoors or put it out with the trash. Why? Laziness. The recycling center is about 20 minutes’ driving time away, which is apparently just too far for the same people who buy everything online so they can have it delivered to their door. Read more about how recycling is changing.
There are people, everywhere I’ve been, who won’t expend even minimal efforts to keep our environment habitable by recycling, even when it’s easy to do. I’ve worked with them and lived among them. They seem to expect someone else to do it for them (!). To these self-anointed princes and princesses I say start doing your part or you’ll be helping to ensure that the movie “WALL-E” becomes reality.
To those who care: if you don’t already, please consider repurposing jars and bottles that may safely be reused. They’re perfect for making soaked oats or muesli, they make cute country vases for flowers, they can be used to hold edibles as well as non-edibles…and more!
Do you have a creative use for repurposed jars or bottles? Tell us about it in the comments!