Mason jars have a variety of uses that can help us downsize on plastic and non-recyclables and help keep our planet habitable for generations to come.
Plastic overuse, while gratefully declined since the 1950s, is still a heavy global problem. 10 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year, 80% of all sea birds are found with plastic in their stomachs and on top of that, plastic doesn’t biodegrade for thousands upon thousands of years.
But fret not, there are other options! While it may be tempting to use Tupperware or unbreakable plastic drinkware, there is an alternative option: mason jars.
Mason jars are durable, can often be dropped without breaking, and come with a seal tight lid that can be used over and over again without changing shape.
20 ALTERNATIVE USES FOR MASON JARS
Mason jars were originally created for canning food to be stored and used at a much later date. They’re good for making preservatives and jams, but they have more every day uses as well.
IN THE MORNING
The most obvious first choice! The edges of a mason jar are smooth and the jars come in many different sizes. The lid is water-tight as well, and doesn’t break easily if you toss it in your bag and bring it along with you.
If you like to whip up some smoothies in the morning rather than load up on carbs by eating a bagel or a muffin (like me!), bringing it along in a mason jar is a great way to do it. The mason jar’s clear, thick glass keeps in the cold and refrigerates easily if you want to save it for later. You can also buy a super cool coffee lid to put on your mason jar!
Your best bet here is iced coffee or tea, but the mason jar can handle heat like a pro too (you can put them in the oven or a microwave and the tempered glass works just fine).
You can toss some cereal in a mason jar and put the milk in a separate container, or fill the glass half full with milk so the cereal at the top doesn’t get too mushy.
IN THE AFTERNOON
Food and Other Stuff
Mason jars are ideal for holding a mixed salad, and you can choose to either layer it or mix it all together. Your best bet if you want to keep a salad for a few days, put the dressing at the very bottom layer and put the dry ingredients at the top so they won’t soak (I learned that the hard way).
Unlike plastic or Styrofoam containers that release some pretty toxic chemicals into your food when you microwave it, mason jars heat up your food without the fear of melting. Once you’re done, you can screw the lid back on and bring it back home to clean and reuse.
Granola, fruit, trail mix, candy, cereals and anything else you can think of to snack on. Buy your snacks in bulk and then toss a handful into a mason jar rather than buying little individual snack packs that produce more plastic.
Rather than hit up an expensive café for a $6 parfait and a $5 coffee, all you need is a few mason jars. Buy a big tub of vanilla yogurt, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and honey granola and you can make your own parfait every morning for multiple weeks – all for under $10 total. (Make sure you add the granola the same day you plan on eating the yogurt to stop it from getting soft).
Chicken and rice? Mason jar. Meatball marinara? Mason jar. Soup? You guessed it, put it in the mason jar. Rather than find yourself with a fridge full of plastic Tupperware that easily gives way to mold, stick anything in a glass jar and it has unlimited uses.
Just like you can bake in a mason jar, you can cook in one too. From pasta, to soups, to salads – if you’re low on cookware, you know where to turn.
Tired of filling a baking pan? Bake a cake or pie inside the jar and voila – your own personal dessert! The jar is also great for storing ice cream!
Storing bulk items
Using mason jars in your pantry to store dry food is a great way to stay organized and keep your food fresh.
The most obvious choice. Painting a mason jar shabby chic, adding some glitter, lace, or anything you like, makes a great vase that’s cute to boot.
Did you know you could turn a mason jar into a hanging pendant lamp? Or an oil lamp? Pinterest has some genius ideas that will add some country-themed charm to your home.
Mason jars come in a lot of different sizes. For a nice effect, add a little paint and some tea candles (or maybe fill it with wax candles for some true sustainability.)
Label them with chalkboard paint
A charming way to personalize a cup, either with a way to write your name or distinguish what’s in the cup!
My house is full of mason jars being used just to hold things – pens, pencils, paint, paint brushes, tea spoons, etc.
BATH AND BODY
Homemade lotions and soap
If you were ever interested in taking the next step when it comes to sustainability, creating your own wash and lotion products are a good step in the right direction. Make a sugar scrub, lotion, or salve and put it in a stout mason jar for safe keeping.
A little baking soda, coconut oil and a little peppermint stored in a mason jar and you have your own environmentally friendly (and very effective) toothpaste
Stick mason jars onto a magnetic strip or stack them under your sink to store Q-tips, make-up applicators, cotton swabs and more.
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