Updated: Oct 14
Glass is 100% recyclable and will retain its quality even after being recycled multiple times. This property alone makes glass much more superior to plastics in terms of recycling. Glass is also safer for storing food and easily washable. Naturally, the cost of buying products contained in glass jars or bottles will be higher than those packed in plastic packagings.
If used glass jars and bottles can be given a second life by reusing them instead of being sent for recycling after use, it can overcome the difference in prices. Based on this notion, I saved some money on plastic containers by simply reusing glass jars and bottles. Read on and find out how I gave used glass jars and bottles their second life.
I used to buy bottled Choya liqueurs at the duty-free shop at Singapore Changi Airport whenever I returned home from my overseas trips. After finishing the liqueur, I will wash and keep the bottles. These tall and beautiful bottles are great for storing dried goods, cereal, beans, snacks, etc. And they also decorated my kitchen — colourfully.
I love coffee. After many years of drinking coffee daily from coffee mixtures in plastic packagings out of convenience, I switched to buying freeze-dried coffee in glass jars. Apart from being environmental friendly, it is also more economical than buying coffee mixtures in small packets that usually include creamer and/or sugar — not to mention that the plastic packagings are usually fused with aluminium foils, which make them non-recyclable.
I reuse the coffee jars, and also jam jars, to keep unfinished dried goods, flour, baking soda, etc, in my kitchen cabinet. The air-tightness of these jars with their metal lids serve as excellent storage containers to keep out moisture. And the primary advantage of glass is that the contents are clearly visible.
Apart from storing dried goods, glass jars can also be used to store unfinished food stuff, herbs and spices in the refrigerator. I will usually transfer unfinished food from plastic packagings or tin cans to the air-tight glass containers for longer storage. Glass works better than plastic containers as there is no chemical leeching, safe to reheat (not directly from the fridge though) and wash without residual smell.
Glass jars and short bottles (from cough syrup or beverages) can also be used as vases for plants growing in water. I use them in my little "garden". The transparent material allows the content to be monitored, especially the water level, and to check for algae growth or mosquito larvae. I have also reused mesh cloth and mesh bag (from buying onions) to close any openings of the glass jars to prevent mosquitoes from getting to the water.
Noticed that the "tray" is a biscuit cardboard box?
Glassware has always been a popular choice for decorative purpose as they create a sense of elegancy in any place. I have this wine glass that sat on the shelf and unused for years. Instead of sending it to the recycle bin, I use it to decorate my new house. Put some scented potpourri in it and it looks simply elegant. If I were to open a bottle of wine next time, I will know where to find a wine glass.
By the way, do you know that tall glass bottles, usually from buying cooking wine, can also be used as rolling pin to flatten dough for baking? I am not into baking but I have tried a delicious pancake in Taiwan that was made using glass wine bottle and became famous.
Glass jars and bottles are readily available from buying jams, peanut butters, sauces, seasonings, coffee powder, cooking wine, etc. So, it is not difficult to collect and reuse them instead of buying plastic containers. I will reuse glass recyclables for couple of years and recycle them after newer ones come along.
As a matter of thought, if glass jars have handles, I will definitely reuse them as mugs — I don't mean buying jar mugs off the shelf.