Re-purposing Food Containers

One green habit we’ve developed that I’m really proud of is re-purposing (instead of trashing or recycling) food containers.  If something we want to buy has different packaging options, we usually choose glass over plastic, even if it costs a little bit more.  We have a limited supply of canning jars, and it’s probably better to save those just for canning anyways.  Spaghetti sauce jars, in particular, serve as great substitute.  They work well for everything from culturing yogurt to storing grains and beans.

Last week we went to Whole Foods and I stocked up on dry black and cannellini beans from the bulk bins.  I used my homemade produce bags at the store, and when we got home, the black beans went into a large glass jar (with a re-purposed mayonnaise jar lid) and the cannellini beans went into a re-purposed plastic rice container.  No new plastic used!

I also use re-purposed glass jars in the freezer.  I try to freeze food in the quantities I need most often.  This saves me from having to defrost a ton of something and then scrambling to find ways to use it.  I find that re-purposed glass peanut butter jars are the perfect size for storing cooked beans, pumpkin puree and marinara sauce.

Chickpeas in a honey jar; refried beans in tahini and peanut butter jars; marinara in a peanut butter jar; beans in glass/plastic containers

Perhaps the most fun use of old food containers is turning them into toys for our African Grey.  Why buy expensive toys when a phone book stuffed inside of a Quaker Oats container makes her just as happy?

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2 Responses to Re-purposing Food Containers

  1. 'Becca says:

    I love that bird toy! I am a big fan of reusing food containers, too. Does Whole Foods not allow you to buy bulk ingredients in jars? My co-op store does–you just weigh your empty jar and write the weight on the label before you fill it.
    Here is my big list of ways to reuse things, including a lot of food containers. I think quart yogurt tubs are the most versatile.

    • Christina says:

      I think Whole Foods lets you bring in jars, but I’m assuming you need to get the jars weighed first? I meant to try it out once, but the line at the customer service desk was so long that I decided to just make do with my bags. That said, the bags work out really well as long as I’m not buying flour. I use them for loose produce, like brussels sprouts, and dried beans usually. Yogurt tubs would come in really handy. I’ve been making my own yogurt for a while now, so I never had any on hand.

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