How to Reuse Glass Jars - 20 Ideas

Do you seem to be collecting more and more glass jars in your cupboard? If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a cupboard in your kitchen full of empty glass jars waiting to be reused for something and it can be difficult sometimes to come up with new ideas.

So, I’ve created a list of 20 great ideas on how to reuse glass jars and keep them in circulation rather than sending them to be recycled.

Why Should We Avoid Recycling Glass Jars?

Recycled glass jars do not get recycled into more glass jars. We all like to believe that recycled glass turns back into more glass jars, drinking glasses etc but that is not actually the case. They are downcycled and used in “soil additives, compost mixes, construction sand or aggregates, filtration sand, landscaping mulch, and as a sandblasting medium”.

This means that the more we recycled glass jars, the more new glass needs to be made which is worse for the environment than we might initially think.

Glass jars are healthier for us as a product because they do not release toxins and breakdown into micro plastics over time. However, a study conducted at the Southampton University in 2020 concluded that glass has a greater environmental impact than plastic due to the fact that it needs more energy to be produced and transported.

So if you can, please keep your jars and reuse them as much as possible. Head on down to the list of 20 ideas for reuse to get you started.

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The List of Ideas

1. Dry Food Storage

The most obvious and most popular way to reuse glass jars is to store and organise dry foods. You’ve probably already done this. Keeping seeds, flour, grains, nuts, herbs, spices and even tea and coffee in glass jars is so satisfying.

Keeping them in glass means you can see where everything is and they stack easy so they’re also easily accessible. The perfect solution inside your cupboards

2. Keep Spring Onions and Parsley Fresh

Keep your spring onions and parsley in a glass jar in the fridge with some water, like a vase of flowers, and they will last a whole lot longer. This way you can reuse your glass jars and avoid food waste at the same time. Read my blog post about how to make vegetables last longer for more ideas on preventing food waste.

3. Store Open Foods in the Fridge

Have you only used half a tin of beans or do you have left over food from lunch? Pop them into a glass jar and keep them in the fridge for later.

I also like to store my homemade stock in a glass jar in the fridge so that it’s ready to use when I need and I can easily see how much is left.

4. Store Frozen Food

Did you know you can also use them to store food in the freezer? There seems to be a bit of a worry about glass breaking in the freezer however there’s nothing to worry about. Once you know how to do it you’ll wonder why you never tired before.

Just be sure that the glass is cool before putting it in the freezer and that there is enough room in the top of the jar for expansion. Don’t fill it to the brim.

A tall glass jar is sat on a light wooden surface. It has white coloured chia pudding inside 3/4 of the way up with raspberries ontop. There is a silver spoon sat ontop of the raspberries. There are also two raspberries next to the jar.

5. Soaked Oats and Packed Lunches

We very often use them to take our breakfasts or lunches out with us. They’re ideal for making soaked oats, chia puddings and for taking a salad or pasta into work with you. You know they won’t be leaking any toxins into your food and the seal of the lid keeps them even fresher than a tupperware.

6. Jams & Pickles

Are you thinking about making some jams or pickles? Glass jars are perfect for this. Just be sure to sterilise them before putting your freshly made preserves inside.

7. Drinking Glasses

Glass jars make the coolest drinking glasses. Small ones are great for a normal glass of water or juice and if you’re planning on making smoothies or cocktails then bigger jars give the drink a whole new vibe.

A small glass jar holding 5 paint brushes in varying sizes is sat on a dark coloured surface. The water in the jar is murky yellow and there is a paint palette to the left and the top of a small piece of artwork on the right.

8. For Painting

You can use glass jars for more than just food and drink. Pop a little water into one and you have yourself the perfect vessel for washing out paint brushes and dabbing a little water onto your brush for mixing.

9. Paintbrush Holder

Following on from above, you could also use them to hold all your paint brushes, even organising them into categories based on size.

10. Plant Propagation

I love using my glass jars for propagating my plants. Many plants just need a bit of water and time to start rooting. Using glass jars means I can keep an eye on whether the roots have started to show or not and whether the water needs topping up.

Two clear glass jars sat on a light wooden dining table. They both have plant cuttings in them with green heart shaped leaves. In the background is the rest of the rectangular table and a white wall with a black picture frame.

11. For Deodorants and Body Creams

Are you making your own deodorants and body creams yet? If not, here’s a link to my favourite deodorant recipe to get you started. I promise, you won’t regret it.

You can pop your finished product into a small glass jar and keep this same one to reuse over and over again. The more you use the jar the more environmentally friendly it is.

12. Toothbrush & Hairbrush Holder

I’ve started organising my bathroom with glass jars too. Keep your toothbrushes in a glass jar as well as your hair brushes and makeup brushes. Organising them like this just keeps everything a little bit tidier.

You can even wrap some pattern cotton cloth around the jars to brighten them up a little and add to the bathroom decor.

13. Store Toilet Bombs

You’re probably making your own toilet bombs to clean the toilet. The best place for them is in a spare glass jar under the bathroom sink so they’re ready to use. It keeps the ingredients dry and the essential oils stay fresh.

14. Zero Waste Shopping

Do you visit a local zero waste shop? You can take your glass jars with you to buy all your dry foods from there. Simply weigh them like you would any other container (with the lid on) and fill your jar ready to be weighed again at the counter. Easy!

15. Use Them as Vases

Do you need an extra vase? You can use your larger glass jars for this exact purpose. Just pop the cut flowers into the jar and fill 3/4 of the way up with water as you could a normal vase.

I love how they look and they can be so much more practical than a designed vases which tend to not be heavy enough or stable enough to hold flowers.

A large clear glass jar sat on a dark wooden surface with a bunch of orangey-red cut flowers in it. There is water 3/4 of the way up the jar. The background is a grass field with a hill in the distance and a blue sky.

16. Office Organisation

Keep your pens and pencils organised in your office by standing them up in a glass jar or two. You could even use small jars for things like paper clips, rubbers, staples etc.

17. Make a Terrarium

There are some glass jars that are just ideal for making terrariums and they look absolutely stunning. Choose small, slow growing cacti, succulents and plants to go in there so it doesn’t get overwhelmed too quickly and you’re good to go.

18. Use as a Piggy Bank

Store all of your tiny bits of change in a big jar for a rainy day. I love being able to see how full the jar is.

19. Candle Holders

Small glass jars that you get from mustards, olive pastes and similar products are ideal for using as tea light holders. The light that it gives from the glass makes the room feel so much more cosy. Decorate your jars with some string to give it a different vibe.

20. To Give Gifts

If you’re planning on making gifts for Christmas, Easter or someones birthday then giving them in a glass jar means they will look amazing and you can pass some of them on to others too. Jams, candles, spice mixes, bath bombs, homemade chocolate, pickles, they will all make for a cute zero waste gift. You could even decorate it with a bit of twine around the top and a homemade label.

What to do if You Have Too Many to Reuse

If after all these ideas you still have too many, then give them away on local FB buy nothing groups before recycling. There is always someone out there that wants to make more jam :)

You can also ask your local zero waste shop if they take them to make them available in store for their customers to reuse.

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Tina Rinaudo

Tina is a passionate zero waster and crocheter who aims to live and crochet as sustainably as possible. She has been crocheting since 2016 and specialises in using sustainable yarns to design zero waste crochet patterns to make easy swaps for yourselves and your homes. She has been featured in Happily Hooked Magazine, and many other websites for her eco friendly crochet patterns.


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