Glass Jars Should You Recycle or Reuse?

Glass jars should you recycle or reuse? And how about vases, empty glass candle jars, or mayonnaise jars? Do you have rules about recycling glass bottles in your home? If you are a do-it-yourself person you can always paint or decorate pickle jars or do other bottle crafts for room decor. Reusing glass jugs can be a great food storage solution that protects your food from rodents. It also allows for easy inventory.

Recycle or Reuse Glass Jars?

Glass jars. Should we recycle or reuse? That is a great question. All right, what it comes down to is, are we recycling inside your universe or outside your universe? Now, inside your universe is your home and your office. We’re going to call that locally. We’re going to call it globally, anything outside your home and outside your office.

Recycle Globally First

So, we’re going to talk locally and globally. Your first line of the item when it comes to glass jars is we are going to recycle globally. That means glass comes into your house, it goes in the recycling bin, and it goes out to the curb.

Glass Jars, Recycle Or Reuse

There are Lots of Glass Manufacturers in the U.S.

All right, in America alone, there are 44 glass manufacturing plants, and they manufacture all the glass that we use in all the consumable products. There are 63 processing plants that will pick up those recycling bins and they sort by type the different kinds of glass.

Glass Jars, 63 Glass Processing Plants

And then they sort by color, and then they clean those, and they put them in big bins and they ship them off to the manufacturing plants that will melt the glass down, and they create new glass for the products that we’re using.

Your Glass Bottles are All Recyclable​

Now, what’s really cool about this is from the food and beverage industry. That’s the glass bottles, the milk bottles, the beer bottles, the wine bottles, that stuff is 100% recyclable.

If you’re not sure about what to do with the glass that’s inside your cupboards and your pantries and the new glass that’s coming in, put it inside the recycling bin, ship it out to the curb.

Glass Jars, 100 percent Recyclable

They will come to take it and they will use it, and they will thank you profusely because, for every ton of glass that’s recycled, it saves one ton of natural resources. So, we’re saving the Earth’s resources when we recycle. So, choose recycling at a global level first.

What are the Exceptions to the Rule?

Now you’re going to say, “What about the exception to the rule?” There are exceptions to the rule, but with that come rules. The rule for recycling locally, which is inside your home, is do you have a need, an immediate need for that thing?

Glass Jars, Tall Flowers in Vase

For example, in my home, I have this glass. It’s a crystal glass vase that we got 20 years ago when we got married and I saved this because I use it all the time for fresh cut flowers from my rose garden, which I have about nine months out of the year.

The other months of the year, my husband brings me home these little handfuls of cut flowers that somebody sells as they’re coming through while he’s at work. So, lots of fresh flowers are in this vase at all times.

I Have a Two Vase Rule in My House

It is possible at any given time, I may have two vases full of flowers at any given time. It is rare that we would ever have 12.  If someone were to bring more flowers I would have to decide between the vases on which two to keep. I don’t get three vases. I only get two. That’s my rule.

Set Rules For How Many Vases You Will Keep

Your house needs rules as well because if you don’t have any rules, you’re going to wake up one day and you’re going to have 12 vases and go, “Oh my goodness. Maybe I’ll use them one day.” No, you won’t.

Glass Jars, Woman With Flowers

What You Can Do With Your Extra Glass Products

Right outside your universe, which is outside your home and your office, there are local vendors. There’s probably a florist that lives in your neighborhood. We’ve done this for a lot of customers whose homes we’ve gone into and we’ve cleaned out their cupboards and their pantries and all the stuff and we found lots of vases.

Glass Jars, Recycle Locally

Donate Your Glass To Local Florists

We’ll call them and say, “Hey, listen, we’ve got 15 vases here. Do you want them?” They don’t pay us anything for them, but they go, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ll sanitize them and we’ll reuse them.” So, we drive them and we drop them off.

Instead of them going to a plant and then being remanufactured into vases that they sell back to the florist, we just give them ours. They’re like, “Oh, thank you very much.” You can also send them to the thrift store. That’s just right outside your universe. But for the most part, you’re going to put everything in the recycling bin and send it on its way at the curb.

What to Do With Old Pickle Jars

All right, so the next thing is, this is a consumable pickle jar. We bought the pickles for about three and a half dollars. It’s about 10 inches tall and about five inches wide. Now it’s holding spaghetti noodles. What happened is this comes into my house and my house has a rule of four of these jars.

Glass Jars, Pickle Jars

There’s also a rule that the lid has to be big enough that my hand can get inside with a little scrubby sponge so that I can clean the jar properly. We’ve probably had this for eight or 10 years. At a quick glance, I love this for the fact that it’s clear and it’s glass. For a quick glance, before I go grocery shopping, I can open the pantry door, I can look in and I can say, “Oh, look, I still have spaghetti noodles. I don’t need any.” It’s a quick inventory.

I Also Have a Four Glass Jar Rule

Glass Jars, Four Jars

But here’s the rule. I only get four glass jars. There are two that have beans and two that have noodles. I gotta eat the noodles and the beans that I have before I go buy more. Here’s a gallon jar that has lentil beans in it.

Again, at a quick glance, I can tell how many are in the jar, but I also like it for the fact that because it’s in a sealed, airtight container, it keeps the food away from any rodents that could make their way possibly into the pantry. Those are the rules for my household, but my household has a four-glass jar limit rule for those kinds of foods.

How We Reuse Glass Jars in the Bathroom

We also have rules for smaller things. One is a Yankee Candle holder that is glass and it is being reused to hold cotton balls for the bathroom. The other one is an empty mayonnaise container that is being used to hold makeup remover pads. These two go in the bathroom and our rule is every bathroom may have one set of these. So, one Yankee Candle container and one mayonnaise container to hold makeup remover pads.

Glass Jars, Cotton Balls in Jars

That is the rule. If more Yankee Candle holders come into our house, they must go in the recycling bin and out to the curb. The reason being is those products come in paper bags. I don’t like the paper bags sitting on top of the vanities in the bathroom. I don’t like poking them in drawers or kind of hiding them under this sink or whatever.

When they’re in jars at a quick glance, I can tell quickly how many cotton swabs I have in here. If I’m getting low, I can either restock right now, but I’m not at the store going, “Do I have cotton swabs or not? Do I need more?”

Any Extra Glass Products Get Recycled

My rules are no more than what you see. Once we’ve met our quota, anything else that comes in, goes in the recycling bin and out to the curb. I want you to be very clear about what the rules are for your home.

Glass Jars, Recycle Bins

I don’t mind if you recycle the glass in your home and if you reuse it for your own personal use, because like I said, it’s awesome. This glass, a pickle jar that probably cost us four and a half bucks for a gallon of pickles, if I were just to buy the glass containers, probably about eight and a half dollars by itself, and we’ve probably had this one for 20 years.

The good news about this is they last forever, so you don’t need a whole bunch. Just save one or two of them, and there you go.

Get Creative Reusing Glass Jars

Glass Jars, Painted Jars

You can get creative. You can peel off the labels. You can use acrylic paint and paint the top of the containers. You can make them decorative, if decorative is your thing. I’m all about practicality. I don’t really care about any of that stuff.

What’s really important to me is that everything that I have is in an airtight container, that it’s visible, I can see what’s inside, and we’re good to go. Those are the rules for me. Those are the rules that we pass on to our customers.

What are the Rules for Glass Jars in Your Home?

What are the rules for glass in your home? You’re going to recycle globally first, send it out to the curb, recycle or reuse inside your home, second. Those are the two rules. Then be very clear about how many of each item you get to keep.

Glass Jars, Follow Your Rules

Once you’re crystal clear on that, anything new that comes into your life, it removes all the guesswork. It removes all of the emotional stigma and “Oh, no. It’s so good. I should probably keep it. I can probably use it for something else.”

No, it doesn’t match my rules. Let’s put it on the curb. Let’s ship it out. More glass is going to come into my life. When the next glass comes in, I’ll make this decision at that time. Got it?

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