Ways to Recycle and Repurpose Mason Jars

Published: September 15, 2021

Did you know that glass is 100% recyclable, sustainable mono-material (meaning that it is not composed of various materials) that can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity?  Glass bottles represent the quickest recycled-packaging process, as a bottle can be recycled and back on store shelves in 30 days! And the good news for our company is that despite varied rules for recycling glass jars across cities in the Greater Toronto and surrounding areas, the mason jars used to package our wholesome soups, do not fall under the category of glass not accepted in blue bins.

At RicherEarth Vegan Eats our mission is to serve you with healthy vegan food you’ll love. Our food is inspired by Canadian and Jamaican flavours, created by an ethical and eco-conscious business. In this article we will not only talk about the benefits of recycling glass bottles and jars the right way, but we will also show you fun and useful ways to repurpose our mason jars. The goal is zero waste - diverting bottles from landfills.

--- Pictured: Yellow Split Pea Soup - Inspired by local produce and Jamaican flavours, RicherEarth Vegan Eats soups are 100% vegan, gluten free, and all natural.

The Benefits of Recycling Right

Recycling Bottles, Jars
While conducting our research to write this article, we learned that not all glass is accepted in your blue bin. We also learned that depending on the area you live in, recycling rules vary for glass bottles and jars. In Peel Region for example, we are instructed to put bottles larger than 50 mL in our recycling bin and bottles smaller than 50 mL in our garbage. Lids, foil or plastic seals or stoppers are to be removed and placed in the garbage. 

In the City of Toronto, glass bottles and jars are on the city’s list of top 5 items that always go in the blue bin; no size limit specified. We are also instructed to recycle glass bottles and jars with the lids on. 

In all instances, it is good practice to always rinse and empty bottles and jars to ensure that all of the food and liquid is gone so to not contaminate perfectly good recyclables. Please also do your best not to place broken glass in your blue bin, as there is no market for recycling broken glass. 

While doing our research for this article, we also learned that ceramic dishes, mirrors, Pyrex, light bulbs and window glass cannot be recycled curbside. The chemical composition of these items can cause problems during the melting process at recycling plants.

Can you make money recycling glass bottles and jars?
We are not sure. While return programs do exist for alcohol beverage bottles, we did not find a service that will pay you to return other types of glass bottles and jars.

Are there refill programs that make use of glass bottles and jars?
As a member of Random Acts of Green, we reached out to this organization for more information on this topic. Random Acts of Green is assisting our company by looking into this matter. To date, they've reached out to a couple of Toronto-based refill shops. Stay tuned for further updates.

Let's all do our part.
Recycling can be confusing, but we have all recognized the importance of environmental responsibility and doing our part to take care of our planet.  As technology advances, the number of materials that can be recycled will inevitably increase. 
We suggest that you check with your local recycling programs to find out the most up to date guidelines for your area.

Ways to Repurpose Mason Jars

If you are looking to add a touch of flair to your home, mason jars may prove handy. Best of all, there’s a range of ways you could spruce this idea to fit your aesthetic and style. You could fill them with flowers, use them as a planter, hang a candle in them or some fairy lights, or even tint them for use as a centerpiece.

Fresh juice and food need a place to be stored, and your mason jars can be used to purposefully make your life around the kitchen easier. Mason jars have a place in DIYs, home decor, health tips, and recipes. Here are a few ideas on how you can reuse mason jars.

Dry Goods Organizers
Plastic bags and cardboard boxes are great and all. But they are also more susceptible to pests and humidity. Mason jars work great in pantries, especially if you were to get uniform sizes. You can store anything from flour to cereals. Use mason jars to store seeds, dried fruits, dried herbs, spices, rice, pasta and more.

Utensil wrangler
Are you always spending more time than needed going through your utensils cabinet? Then maybe it’s about time that you got a bit more creative with your kitchen organization ideas. Mason jars are perfect for storing all your extra utensils in and make pretty DIY kitchen décor.

Desk storage
A desk can easily get cluttered. It could be with weeks of unfinished papers and projects or maybe simpler things like pens, erasers, and clip needles. Fortunately, desk clutter is something you can quickly fix with a mason jar. It’s simple, most mason jars are clear, and so you can always see what you have stored in them once they are on your desk. For a fun twist, play with fun designs for lids or exterior drawings if you want to spruce up the look of your desk.

Making DIY beauty products
DIY beauty products are gaining momentum. That’s because they are not only low-cost but are also deemed safer since you are aware of the actual products in them. That being said, you can use mason jars to store DIY beauty products such as lotions, facial scrubs, cleansers, toothpowder, deodorants, and much more.

Other useful ways to repurpose
Reuse mason jars for pickling, as a salad jar, as a piggy bank, to store paint brushes for art, or to fill with soil to plant seedlings or any other green act.

How to Prepare Mason Jars for Use

Mason jars come from different products, and unless you want your house to be a rainbow of labels, the first step has to be finding ways to remove them. This is often the hardest step of preparing mason jars, but the moment the labels peel off completely with no residue, then you are good to go.  While you could leave them on and spare your nails, there are simple ways to remove labels.

For one, some people will soak the jars in a warm soapy solution and use oil to remove any leftover residue, but this often leaves an oily jar. The alternative is to brute force the label and use any solution with a high alcohol percentage to remove the residue. White vinegar and other citrus-based cleaners also work as effectively. 

After removing the label, clean up the jars, and that’s it – you have an incredibly versatile, low-cost, not to forget environmentally-friendly solution for your home.

There is no shortage of ways on how you can reuse mason jars. So if you are in possession of a couple of  jars and have no idea what to do with them, hopefully, this article offered you some enlightenment to get you started.

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