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Sustainability in a Jar, What Can You Do?

Jars are an amazing form of storage and preservation of foods, from the day you pick up a jar of jam or some pickled goods the possibility are endless. But what do you do with the jars once the intended content has run out or gone out of date? Do you recycle, just throw it away or are you a bit of a hoarder waiting for the right project that the jars will come handy in? Well, you’re in luck as I’m going to go through some creative and clever ways of upcycling and reusing empty jars for not just a more sustainable way of using up containers that weren’t originally intended to be only single use but to be used over and over again; but also ways for a more sustainable living on the planet that also helps with saving some cash.

Firstly what is glass? Glass is created when sand, soda ash and limestone are melted at high temperatures creating glass, this can be done naturally and is seen near volcanoes or it can be done in a controlled environment as in glass sculpting. Going back to 7000 to 3000 B.C, from the early stone ages, glass was used as a tool, as volcanic eruptions and meteor impacts would produce glassy rock and obsidians; to the Mesopotamia time (third millennium BC) when glass making was discovered by master craftsmen. And we slowly move to Egypt where the glass containers are first created.

So what can you do?

How amazing are the little jars in all shapes and sizes, and endless possibilities so let's take a look at some of the ways that you can reuse these jars yourself? The segment will be split into the two practical ways in which you can use your jars within your day-to-day life that can be used to save you some money and ways you can use your jars in ways that are a little bit more fun and creative even something to do with friends and family. To clean and sanitise your jars, all you need is to wash them as you would with a food container and remove the sticker labels, after sanitising just add your jars into a pot of water and allow them to boil.

Practicality in a jar:

1. Storing herbs and spices

If you're into organising and keeping your kitchen cupboards clutter-free, and have a few small jars of pesto or some sauces that have been used up give them a clean and remove the stickers from the outside and let them dry. After emptying your spice cupboard and collecting your herbs and spices, place each into its own jar and label it after, this can be done with just a sharpie or if you would like to match an ascetic within your kitchen you can create your own labels.

2. Bulk goods

Storing bulk goods in upcycled jars/glass containers can not only be visually pleasing but also a good way of preventing goods from spilling from the original packaging or going bad. Or if you choose to go to a bulk buy store to get goods like pasta, flour, oats and a lot more you will be taking an even bigger step towards a more sustainable way of living, and as well as the first idea the kitchen will have a more organised and clean look allowing you to see what you have without having to open everything.

3. Sourdough starter

If you like to bake your own bread from scratch jars will come in handy when making your sourdough starter and keeping it alive without taking up too much space. Your starter will be ready when it's doubled in size, to create the starter, please go to

4. Pickling

Pickling seems harder than it is but is a great way for preserving goods that you may have one too many of so let's look at what you may need to make pickled cucumbers. To make your own pickles please go to for the full recipe.

5. Storing oils and lard

And one last one that is practical and one that I personally love is using jars to store infused oils and lards, if you love cooking and experimenting with creating your own oils by infusing them with herbs and spices for later use storing them in the jar is a must.

Creativity in a jar:

1. Candles

If you have a few plain wax candles, you may like to create your own candles, by melting down all your old and unused candles into the wax and adding your essential oils adding them to a clean jar.

2. Plant offcuts

If you're a plant lover but some of your plants are starting to outgrow your home or maybe you wanted to give someone a plant jars are great for rooting plant cut-offs allowing you to keep control of your indoor plants.

3. Food prepping

Another great way of making use of jars is to use them for meal prepping, you can plan your meals for the week ahead by making homemade instant soups into jars with all the seasonings and noodles and when hunger strikes just add boiled water as you would to a pot noodle; or if you have more of a sweet tooth why not try some overnight oats or chia pudding.


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