Recycle Food Jars

Last year, I shared the house with two other people, and all of us frequently bought food items that come in mason jars. Salsa, pasta sauce, jelly–you name it, we bought it.

My roommates and didn’t feel quite right throwing all of those jars out.  So we figured out a way to prevent the jars from going to the landfill at the same time that we put them to good use.

Glass jars of this sort are designed for storing food items, so once you have washed out the left overs from the jars’ original contents, you can start putting other food in them again. I’ve discovered that dry items one typically buys in bulk–beans and rice, for example–find a good home in these jars.

My mason jars of mung beans, rice, and sugar.

I also use my jars to store white and brown sugar. If you are thinking about doing this, make sure that your jar is completely dry. Any moisture will result in clumped up sugar (and in the case of brown sugar, hardened sugar), and that’s no fun when you are trying to use it.

One of the benefits of using mason jars is that pouring out its contents is quick and painless. Just twist the top off and empty some of the rice or beans into a measuring cup.

Pour the contents out easily!

Another benefit is that glass has no scent memory. This means that if you happen to store items that have a strong smell (like salsa) the glass will not retain any of that smell. (The lid, however, sometimes remembers the smell of the jars’ previous contents because of the waxed paper top that typically lines the underside. Here is a forum discussion on how to get rid of strong odors that might be helpful.)

Finally, storing your colorful food items in these glass containers not only puts the jar to good use but also adds some charm to the counter or table top you’ll keep the jar in. I’ve recently put some of my Easter jelly beans into a mason jar and placed in a bookshelf in my room (to add some life and color to my room, not just to keep the jelly beans close, I promise!).

Have a bag of colorful food? Pour them into your mason jar!

The best part to reusing these glass containers is that they get diverted from a landfill. Even though admittedly the jars might go to a recycling center if one throws them out, they have use enough that one does not even have to send them there. In fact, jars have other uses besides storing food. Here is a Pinterest to give you an idea of the diversity of crafts and DIY that jars make possible.

What do you do with your saved food jars?

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