I remember the time when plastic was the new thing. I was very young and the thought of having a bottle or a container that did not break was very appealing to me. Many things were kept in glass bottles and jars that were heavy to carry from the shop and made my mother worry they might break. As more and more food came in plastic bottles and containers, everyone grew happier.
When I became a mother, I learned about the dangers of plastic storage for food and the potential damage to the environment. When I went shopping, I wondered whether to buy tomato paste in a plastic container or a glass jar. It was not an easy decision, because back then, the main idea was to make life easy and, being disposable, I liked just throwing the plastic containers away when they were empty. No need to clean, one time use and that is it – plastic was our way to an easy life.
Still, I did not feel comfortable with it. The more I was involved in education and my awareness of our global responsibility grew, the more I realized that although recycling required more effort, it was important. So to feel better about buying plastic, I recycled my plastic containers by storing crayons, markers, erasers and many other things in them.
In the last few years, I discovered that glass containers were cheaper than plastic or metal ones. If I buy tomato paste in a glass jar, it costs almost half the price of buying it in tubes, sachets or sealed plastic tubs, so I decided to start recycling glass the way I had recycled plastic. It is even easier to remove the labels from glass containers, because they can stand heat and I they are dishwasher safe.
So I wash them, take the label off and use them to store things in my cupboards. One clear advantage of glass containers is that you can easily see what is inside them.
If you buy the same product regularly, after a short time, you can have a whole set of glass jars. For example, we use one kind of mayonnaise, so now our cupboard jars look like a set.
Basically, everything I buy in a large quantity, I transfer to a glass jar, because it is easier to manage. When I buy a bag of something, as soon as I open it, I transfer it to a glass container – I like to see in the container and it saves me having to deal with many bags and clips.
If you want to decorate your containers (which, unfortunately, makes them less transparent), you can just pour some paint in them, swirl the paint inside and let dry.
If you use a glass jar for food that can stay outside and need to “breathe”, you can cover the top with a piece of fabric and a rubber band – it looks beautiful.
What to store in recycled glass containers
I am sure there are hundreds of other things you can store in recycled glass containers, but these are the things I do.
- Pickles – it is not good to leave them in a can
- Grilled vegetables (capsicum, bell pepper, squash or eggplant) with vinegar, olive oil, salt and garlic
- Dried shallots – excellent for Chinese food
- Money – with or without a slot in the lid
- Popcorn seeds to use with my glass bowl in them microwave
- Icing sugar
- Corn flour
- Spicy paste of chili, garlic and coriander
- Chick peas
- Small bags of Miso soup
- Honey from a huge 3kg container
- Grated coconut
- Almonds and other nuts
- Various small adapters and connectors
- Potato starch
- Bread crumbs
- Cotton wool
- A vase (I put a nice ribbon around it)
- When I use my sewing machine, my cones of thread are too big to put on the machine, so I put them in a glass jar on the side and watch them spin. I saw my mom do it and it made so much more sense than letting the cone wobble and jump out occasionally.
- My jewelry-making tools
- Office supplies
- Rubber bands
- Dice for playing with the kids I work with (and even with some grownup kids)
- Leftovers from sheets/rolls of stickers
- Earpieces for the computer – it makes them so easy to find
- Mixed paint – I love painting and I use big 5kg paint containers, which I mix them to get different colors. I have found out that when I keep my paints in glass jars, I can easily find the color I want and they never dry. When the big container runs out, I transfer the last bit of paint to a glass jar and keep it with the color code and the brand written on the lid, in case I want to buy the exact same color again.
- Brushes to dry – without the lid
- Arts and crafts items – pompoms, wool, foam, etc
This is what I keep in glass jars in my house.
When my kids were very little, I was a bit worried about using glass, but later on, I explained to them how to open jars when they stand firmly on something stable and relaxed. When they are young, opening a glass jar with one hand, while holding it in the other hand, was not a good idea, so they understood.
I have never had an accident with a glass jar, but if I did, I would probably use it as an example by saying, “It happens to everyone”, “Let’s make sure we are safe with shoes on” and “Let’s pick up the pieces”. In some cultures, breaking glass is a sign of good luck (I have learned that from my mom), so when a glass thing breaks, I say, “Congratulations! Now you will have good luck”.
What do you use glass jars for?
This post is part of the series Handy Family Tips:
- Handy Family Tips: Dishwasher
- Handy Family Tips: Pre-Marinating
- Handy Family Tips: Kitchen Scissors
- Handy Family Tips: First use date
- Handy Family Tips: Kids’ Artwork
- Handy Family Tips: Keys
- Handy Family Tips: Smelly bins
- Handy Family Tips: Treasure box
- Handy Family Tips: Glass jars
- Handy Family Tips: On time is late
- Handy Family Tip: Early is on time
- Handy Family Tips: Electric toothbrush
- Handy Family Tips: Make a Note
- Handy Family Tips: Laundry day
- Handy Family Tips: How to Peel Avocado
- Handy Family Tips: Bathroom Art
- Handy Family Tips: Easy Healthy Spread
- Handy Family Tips: Wake Up With a Smile
- Handy Family Tips: Color Coded Keys
- Handy Family Tips: Road Trip Games
- Handy Family Tips: How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables
- Handy Family Tips: What to Do When There is No Shaving Cream?
- How to Control Your Kids’ Mobile Phone Use at Night