From Plastic to Glass Food Containers
Why Switch, and Ways to Use Them
Why switch to glass food containers?
There is a growing trend with people moving away from using plastic in the kitchen. This includes plastic wrap, plastic bags, plastic utensils, and plastic containers for storing, freezing, heating food, and eating. There are many reasons for this trend including:
* The desire to be more earth-friendly with less waste. Plastic waste is littering the planet in insurmountable amounts. Switching to glass helps to reduce potential plastic waste and is ultimately recyclable, even when broken. Also, the production and reuse of glass products creates less pollution in the environment than does the production of plastics.
* Avoiding chemicals that may be in or released from plastics that could leach into foods. Plastics are made from assorted chemicals, some of which are endocrine disrupting chemicals such as Bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates. These chemicals can affect the brain, hormone system, reproductive system, and may also increase the risk of getting cancer. Furthermore, many such chemicals have not been completely tested for their health effects. Research has shown that some of these chemicals can leach into foods and beverages, in addition to possibly contaminating air, creating hazardous dust, and getting onto our hands. Glass does not leach chemicals into food or liquids, nor into the air or surfaces it comes in contact with.
* Durability. Glass lasts longer than plastic, unless of course, it gets broken. Also, plastic containers can melt or get warped when in contact with hot food, whereas most glass can tolerate hot to warm food without being damaged. Also, plastic wears out, becomes scratched or cracked, and breaks down much faster than glass, possibly causing chemicals to leach into the contents of the plastic container.
* Functionality. Glass has more potential uses than plastic containers, and may be reused indefinitely. Plastic containers wear out over time and may develop odors, scratches, a greasy film, and/or cracks.
* Glass is easier to clean. It will not absorb grease nor stain like plastic.
* Odor control. Glass does not absorb odors, whereas plastic can.
* Glass is microwavable. Most glass may be used in the microwave, whereas most plastics should not be microwaved. When plastic containers are microwaved, they may soften or melt. Also, the heat from the contents may cause plastic containers to leach chemicals into the contents of the container.
* Oven use. Most glass intended for kitchen use may be used in the oven, whereas plastic may not be used in the oven.
* Flavor. Glass preserves flavor better than plastic and won’t impart its own flavor into food, like plastic can, especially with prolonged storage.
* Glass containers are reusable for a much longer time than plastic containers. When purchasing items like tomato sauce, pickles, jelly, jam, beverages, nut butters, or anything that may be packaged in a glass jar or container, opt for glass packaging rather than plastic, if possible. It will help to reduce waste and the glass containers can be reused at home for many different purposes in the kitchen and around the house.
Uses for Glass Jars and Containers
There are many ways to reuse cleaned out food jars of all sizes and shapes, in addition to using canning mason jars for applications other than preserving food. For instance, glass jars can be used in any of the following creative ways:
* Sort and store assorted hardware such as nuts, bolts, screws and nails in separate jars.
* Store vegetables cut in advance for salads or meal preparation in jars.
* Use a lidded jar as a beverage glass at home or “to go.”
* Use a glass jar for drinking a smoothie at home or “to go.”
* Store small craft or sewing items such as pins, buttons, ribbons, or small tools in a jar.
* Use a jar as a pencil holder. Place pencils, pens, crayons, and/or markers in a jar on a desk.
* Store paper clips in a jar.
* Package your own prepared foods such as a “to-go” lunch in a jar.
* Make (and serve) a layered salad in a jar.
* Store leftover liquid items in a jar in the refrigerator. Examples include soups, sauces, beverages, or baby formula.
* Store leftover foods such as cooked rice, mashed potatoes, vegetables, cooked beans, tuna salad, cut fruit, etc. in a jar.
* Store pre-measured baking ingredients in jars. When you want to measure ingredients in advance to shorten meal prep time, measure baking ingredients in advance and store them in clean, dry food jars.
* Use a jar as a simple vase for cut flowers or a decorative floral arrangement with artificial flowers.
* Use a glass jar as a small vessel for rooting plant cuttings.
* Store extra dried herbs or spices in small glass jars with lids.
* Store extra dry foods such as beans, rice, pasta, flour, nuts, and seeds in jars.
* Store and mix homemade salad dressing in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.
* Use a jar as a container for homemade cake, brownie, bar, quick bread, and cookie mixes. Decorate the jar and give it as a gift.
* Make a homemade luminary in a jar.
* Make homemade candles in jars. Decorate and give them as gifts.
* Make a homemade terrarium in a decorative jar.
* Make and store homemade cosmetics in small jars with tight-fitting lids.
* Pack a homemade first-aid kit in a small jar for traveling.
* Store extra matches in a jar for safe keeping.
* Make painted or decorated jars for gift giving.
* Make a decorative, colorful sand art in a jar for your home or gifting.
* Make a decorative holder for a tea light with a pretty jar.
* Make flavored oils or vinegars in jars.
* Make overnight oats in a jar.
* Make a mini planter (such as for one flower bulb) with a decorative jar.
* Make a citronella candle in a jar for keeping mosquitoes away when you’re outside on a summer evening. Simply put the lid on the jar when it’s not being used.
* Store cotton balls and cotton swabs in a jar in the bathroom.
* Use a glass jar for an easy piggy bank for saving extra change at the end of the day.
* Make a homemade, reusable soap dispenser by putting a pump in the top of a glass jar.
* Freeze food in jars, such as chopped bell peppers or onions, leftover soup in individual servings, or easy to-go lunches made in advance.
* Store extra garden seeds in the freezer in a glass jar.
* Make a decorative table centerpiece with a pretty jar.
* Store extra hair care items such as hair ties, bows, bobby pins and hair barrettes in jars.
* Use a jar as a toothbrush holder in the bathroom.
* Store extra combs in a glass jar.
* Use a small jar as a toothpick holder.
* Decorate a small glass jar to be used as a small planter for succulents.
* Make and serve a parfait in a tall jar.
* Carry “to go” snacks in a jar.
* Store makeup brushes in a jar.
* Store extra granola in a jar so it keeps fresh.
* Make a bug catching jar for children.
* Store extra candy in a jar after the bag/container is opened.
* Organize extra pantry items by placing dry food in jars, especially after the original packaging has been opened.
* Marinate meat in a jar. It would be much easier to clean than a plastic bag, or would save trashing the bag after it was used.
* Store painting supplies in jars. Larger jars can be used for storing paint brushes. Smaller jars can be used to store small amounts of extra paint.
* Display small vacation souvenirs in a jar for a decorative memoir.
The uses for glass jars of any size and shape are only limited to your imagination. So, start saving them when any store-bought food item is finished and you’ll have enough containers for all sorts of uses before you know it!