Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Simple Changes: Glass Bottles Instead of Plastic



Like many others, we are trying to change some of our basic habits, for varying reasons of frugality, practicality, sustainability, and simplicity.

I'm slow to change, but I want the good changes to be lasting.

Sometimes I think I'm way behind the curve in comparison with others who have either been living differently than we have for a longer time, or who are just more savvy overall. But I am inspired by seeing ways in which we can continue to improve, and I'm heartened to see that these changes often come in very small packages. Sometimes, it's the little things that add up in the bigger picture.

My Grandma and Grandpa lived simply and well. Many of the changes we've adopted in the past, or simply habits, have been a result of remembering how my grandparents lived. I've noticed that same sensibility in other folks' writings on the web...a longing for the way our forbears did things...simply. Sometimes "simple" means carving out time differently and slowing down to do something that initially takes longer, but produces a better product or saves money. Sometimes it's just a different way of looking at the same set of challenges and applying the widsom of our elders.

At any rate, I'm starting a series here of small changes we're making that we're trying to incorporate as habits. This is open to everyone, and if you have one you'd like to include, I'm happy to post it here as well :)

Small Changes: Glass Bottles Instead of Plastic

This is something my Grandma did. She saved glass jars of every sort.

Selecting store items packaged in glass not only cuts down on plastic in landfills, but is a better all-round reuseable storage solution for anything small. I like to use mine for storing dried pantry items such as pastas, rice, seeds, nuts, etc. They are also great for organizing nails or screws, buttons, office supplies, and sewing items.

I have to wash my jars a couple of times, and often I'll just leave the label on. If you need the label off, it'll take some soaking in hot water and possibly working the sticky glue off with a soft scrub pad. These are some jars after their first washing...


I have a friend who uses Mason jars for hearty drinking glasses. She rinses a few clean jars with water, and while still damp, puts them on an empty shelf in her freezer. Her husband works really enjoys any beverage in those icy cold frozen Mason jars when he comes in from his long, hot, days as a painter. They are really refreshing!



They are also fun for projects with children, whether as temporary housing for interesting insects, storage for found rocks (I loved collecting those with my Grandpa!), or for making sand art by layering different colors of sand or soil and then making designs by running a broomstraw down the sides for different effects.

What do you use your glass jars for?

11 comments:

Kathie said...

I've never met a glass jar that I don't love. I'm saving those green and brown glass beer bottles right now for a herb garden border idea I have...

To get those pesky labels off, a hot soak followed by a sharp razor blade works wonders, I've found. It's easier and less messy than scrubbing....

Brenda Kula said...

Everything! I love glass jars. Buttons, rickrack. lace, beads, thread. Anything pretty I put in a glass jar so I can enjoy looking at it through the glass. Love the idea of putting those jars in the freezer. Yum!
Brenda

Maria said...

I love the big quart mason jars. I pretty much drink only from the. It's perfect for making 4 cup of tea, the standard amount I nourishing infusions that I try to drink each day :-)

Verde said...

My parents are visiting now and I've been trying to jog their memories about how their parents did things. My dad's mom was widowed young, but I remember my mother's parents doing all sorts of things...

I've been trying to stock up on beans, so I've been using jars to store beans.

There for a while my daugher's got pomigranet juice tea in jars with caps that were glasses. Now they are in plastic and we don't buy them but they fight over who gets to take the tall glasses with them.

MommaofMany said...

We use mason jars for drinks, too. Half-pints for the kids, pints and quarts for the adults! I try to refill my quart water glass several times a day.

I do not save other glass jars. I buy in bulk and store in food-grade buckets. I already have enough matching plastic tubs for in the pantry storage.

TOCCO said...

We use them for slug collectors. Also for waste cooking grease and oils. I try to avoid plastic at all cost.!

~Mad said...

Who knew so many used Mason jars for drinking glasses - mine did not sell at a yard sale recently so I am now using them to drink out of myself - I thought I was so being so smart!

~Mad(elyn) in Alabama
www.xanga.com/madewyn

Robbyn said...

Kathie, I love colored bottles, too...can't wait to see the herb garden border :) Great idea with the razor blade..I'll have to try that!

Brenda, yes jarsof buttons remind me of my grandma..love 'em :)

Maria, I never thought of the tea...neat!

Verde, any information you can get from your parents is likely fast-disappearing...it's a treasure. The pomegranate bottles sound pretty :)

MommaofMany, that's a great idea, the smaller jars for the kids :)

Christina, slug collectors..on their sides with beer in them?

Mad...you ARE being so smart...isn't it interesting how many things we all do that overlap? Pretty cool :)

Farmer de Ville said...

I always try to find the blue Mason jars. They work perfectly for ice tea, lemonade, sangria, or the occasional Pabst Blue Ribbon...

Nice blog...

Farmer
www.farmerdeville.com

Country Girl said...

I started saving all my glass jars a while back and I use them for everything from storing broth, temporary bug houses for the kids, to use in the barn for grain etc.
I am much more observent of what I recycle...wish I would have started doing this long ago! ~Kim

Carolyn said...

I love glass jars! I have Mason Jars all over the house. ONe of my favorite uses is I store M&M's in the Jars. Keeps them fresh and makes it easy to have a few pieces when you need a little chocolate fix!