So as I mentioned before I get pretty excited about in-home recycling and upcycling of product packaging. Specifically, I want to highlight the many possibilities for used jars and plastic ware.
The ultimate goal of course is to either transition away from products with packaging or bring your own packaging to purchase the products that you need. Also, I like to try and support bussinesses that have bulk or refillable purchasing options. But until you feel like you are in the position to make that transition (slowly, and a few products at a time), upcycling is a great option I have found!
First step: unless you have several projects or needs for your recycled jars, you will need a small place to store them until you are ready to use. If you make a place for them upfront, you are more likely to start washing and reusing them instead of throwing them away. I must admit, this hoarding practice drove Corey nuts ever since he moved in with me, but when he saw how much money we saved around holidays, birthdays, or on host gifts (see below), as well as the money we saved on plastic baggies for his lunches, he has since quit harassing me and has created a cozy nook for them.
Here is our small place for jars and reusables just above the microwave:
Some packaging I keep and reuse:
- Candle jars
- Pasta sauce jars
- Peanut butter jars
- Pickle jars
- Jellie jars
- Plastic and glass spice containers/shakers
- Mixed Nut containers (Costco size) or similar
- Lunch meat containers
- Butter and oil spread containers
- Soap bottles and dispensers
- And any other jars or plastic containers that are a useful size
(From Alfredo, Peanut Butter, and Candle Jars to Art Storage)
A few ways that I re-use these items:
- Homemade sauces and soup storage
- Leftover storage in general
- Corey’s and my daily lunches
- Flowers vases (around the house and as gifts) and centerpieces
- Holders for utensils, paint brushes, makeup brushes, dish wands, and/or toiletries
- Refillable spice containers
- Refillable bulk food containers
- Save for homemade personal care and cleaning products
(From Pasta Sauce Jar to Flower Vase: Doubles as Easy and Inexpensive Way to Gift and/or Share Herbs)
(From Pickle Jar to Coffee Table Centerpiece)
(Wedding Favor to Nightstand Storage)
(Refill and/or Relabel Spice Containers)
(From Product Jar to Dish Sponge or Wand Holder)
(From Pickle, Roasted Pepper, and Candle Jars to Bathroom Storage)
Now, my two big waste conscious goals in this area are to stop buying pasta sauce in glass jars (a HUGE staple in our glass jar waste department) and lunch meat in plastic containers. In order to reduce waste in those two areas, I am going to start making my pasta sauces completely from scratch and getting fresh lunch meat at the meat counter (bringing my own containers).
I know these things might sound simple, but they will be a big change for us. In fact, it will probably reduce how much we eat pasta and sandwiches during busy/hectic weeks. But …the environment… and scary amounts of unnecessary product packaging! In fact, if you want to feel a little convicted about how much waste you actually produce from reusable containers, simply start saving them! This is what gave me a pretty accurate picture of what I can start moving away from in order to achieve a more waste-conscious lifestyle.
Give it a try and stay tuned for how this works out for us!