Reusing trash and recyclables is great for the environment, and frugal as well, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. In this series of articles, I will be examining the possibilities of reuse available for a number a different items, including crafts and other possibilities.
Many families go through lots of peanut butter each week. It’s an inexpensive favorite for quick and healthy protein. This can produce a lot of empty jars though, and it is much better to reuse them than to recycle them.
The first thing to consider is what kind of peanut butter you are buying. Before you even leave the store, you’re making a decision that will affect the reuse potential of the jar. I like to buy Smucker’s All-Natural Peanut Butter. Not only is much healthier than the standard brands available, it comes in a glass jar which is much better for reusing than a plastic jar.
After the jar has been emptied, it can be scrubbed clean. If the label is stubborn, scrub it off by first soaking it for a while, overnight is best, and then scouring it with salt or baking soda. After it’s been washed and de-labeled, the jar is ready for any of a number of uses you might put it to.
Some quick ideas include:
– Paint it with decorative glass paint, and use it as a gift with a pretty candle inside.
– Use it to hold carrot and celery sticks. It will fit in your car’s cup holder for healthy snacking on the go.
– Spray paint the lid with chalk board paint and store anything from dried fruit to buttons inside it. The chalk board lid will make an easy and adorable way to label the storage jar.
– Cover it with a strip of themed scrapbook paper and package candies or treats inside for a quick gifts during the holidays or for any occasion.
– Pack dog or cat treats into it, with either animal themed painting on it or paper decorations, for a cute display or an animal lovers’ gift.
– Pierce the lid with a large nail in a pretty design and place potpourri inside. The holes in the lid will gradually allow the scent to waft out.
– Pierce the lid with a large nail and use it like a large shaker jar to dispense baking soda for cleaning and scrubbing, or flour for rolling out pie dough, or even organic fertilizers and pest control in the garden.
– Screw the lid to the underside of a shelf for useful hanging storage in a garage or work space.
– Make lemonade or iced tea in the jars for quick individual servings. Brew the tea directly in the jar, filling it a third to halfway full, then fill the rest of the way with ice and shake well. They are healthier than store bought options, much much less expensive, and portable as well. For children, keep some lids that have holes punched with a metal punch available for drinking from a straw. These can be quickly exchanged for the solid storage lid. You can even buy a rubber gasket at a hardware store to go in the hole, and offer a leak free seal.
– Use as a drinking glass when camping or in the bathroom. They are much stronger than a regular drinking glass, and are less likely to be missed if they do happen to get broken.
– I even keep one near my sewing machine to hold bent pins, dull needles, and used cutting blades. This assures me that these sharp and dangerously pointy things won’t end up in my feet! When it is full, which I don’t believe will happen for decades, I’ll be able to toss it out, knowing that I haven’t endangered anyone else since they will stay contained. Make sure to keep this out of reach of children if you use this idea!
Peanut butter jars, especially glass ones, are very useful to have around, and reusing them saves the resources it takes to turn them into something else through recycling. It’s also a very frugal thing to do, since it saves all the money that could be spent on store bought versions of these things.