Repurposing glass containers

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Reusing and repurposing class containers is probably as old as such containers themselves and in times past most of those were used, reused and repurposed until such a time that they could no longer be used because they were broken.

Many of us have a steady stream of glass containers coming into our homes, but we often don't know what to do with all of them. Reason for that, more often than not, is that we have been condition to immediately go into the recycling mode.

Now most people cannot think further than tossing such valuable items, as glass jars and other glass containers, are into the recycling bin. That bin should be the absolute last resort and not the first thought. We have, however, been conditioned, or should I say brainwashed, to think only recycle and buy new what we could easily reuse and repurpose such containers for. And this does not just for glass containers. It does so equally for paper and card, for plastic containers, tin cans, and much, much more.

Used glass jars and other such items can be repurposed for so many different things.

When I was a child most people reused glass jars of all kinds for all kinds of things. Grandfathers and fathers kept screws, nails, and what-have-you in them and grandmothers and mothers used them in the kitchen as storage containers for dried things such as sugar, coffee, tea, beans, rice, salt, and also for to store leftovers. They also used them for buttons and other small things. We seem to have lost that and buy all manner of storage containers when an glass jar we have finished with would do the job just as well with no impact on out finances and the Planet's resources.

Oh, and before anyone suggests that the glass jars that go into the recycling bin are made into new bottles and jars let me enlighten you. They are not. In 99% of all cases they are made into products other than what they were, often simply road sand, bricks, and counter tops. A waste of resources and energy.

There are many ways of reusing and repurposing glass jars and here are just a few suggestions.

You can, for instance, turn old glass containers into beautiful vases for your kitchen window or even for the table.

One of my favorites for that, I have to say, are tall square glass jar in which I buy my coffee from Lidl.

You can also use larger glass containers as mini 'cloches' to get an early start on planting tomatoes and such outdoors. Many dill pickles tend to come in large jars that are well suited for this. Just remember to take them off the plants when the sun beats down on them as there will be no opening to regulate the heat. But then the old glass cloches had not any either.

The same jars also are good for the making of a small terrarium or especially a bottle garden.

Like many of our ancestors your could also use them for leftovers, small and large ones, depending how much you have on leftovers. Glass jars are also great for keeping small items organized, such as crafts, hardware, jewelry, toiletries, you name it.

I remember cottage gardens as a child where the part borders were all lined with old glass bottles, stuck into the ground by their necks and many people also created borders for slightly raised beds with them.

Empty wine bottles and such can also be used as candlesticks, obviously, for use during power outages or for a (romantic) dinner or dinner party.

In the good old Hippie days of the 1960s and 1970s many repurposed glass jars for drinking vessel, as I still do today. Small squat ones from, for instance, mustard, become whisky tumblers, larger ones, from small Frankfurters glass for beer, water and juice and those from herbs and spices shot glasses.

As you can see only you imagination sets the limits as to how glass containers can be reused and repurposed, and the same is true for other so-called waste items, whether tin cans, plastic containers, and much else.

Always reuse and repurpose before heading for the recycling bin...

© 2013