BERKELEY'S NEWS • OCTOBER 01, 2022

Glass jars: A guide

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ELLE KATIE | CREATIVE COMMONS

Photo by Elle Katie under CC BY-SA 2.0

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JUNE 16, 2022

One thing my dad, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, always uses as a golden example of product reuse is the glass jar. During lecture, he offers an opportunity for students to shout out what they use glass jars for and to think of more ideas to expand the jar’s lifespan. 

While being a simple exercise, it’s crucial to understand the responsibility we have in possession management. Especially in the Bay Area, one of the most expensive places to live in and a place that values sustainability at the same time. This guide will help you save a little money and a lot of the environment. 

Some history

Here’s a quick rundown for history lovers: Mason jars were first created in 1858, by the New Jersey native John Landis Mason. The idea of “heat-based canning” was first coined in 1806. Mason’s design of a ribbed neck and screw-on cap helped perfect the airtight seal integral to canning fruits and vegetables. Since then, the Mason jar has skyrocketed in popularity, and it is now used for a range of activities. 

Now that we’ve finished the history lesson, here are three versatile ways to use glass jars.

Containers

While this is the most obvious option, we included using jars as containers because of their variety. For example, glass jars can be used to store dry, edible goods such as oatmeal, snacks or baking essentials such as flour or sugar. To expand on this idea, glass jars can be used as an alternative to store-bought plastic packaging. Some grocery stores offer the opportunity to bring your own container to fill from the bulk section instead of using the plastic bags that most provide. Re-Up Refills is a store on College Avenue in Oakland that specializes in providing consumers with a place to fill up whatever containers they bring with dry goods, liquid soap and other products. 

Your drink of choice

It’s no surprise that using glass jars as drink holders is part of this list. Since the social media trend of drinking aesthetic coffee or matcha, glass jars have been the go-to for Instagram and Pinterest feeds.

Pro tip: For the summer, take your lemonade to the beach in a glass jar, or even make a large batch to share with friends. Just pop it in your beach cooler! 

Grow your own garden

While grow-your-own kits may have gone out of fashion since elementary school, the glass jar is still the perfect way to start your own garden — especially this summer. Starting off seedlings in soil-filled glass jars would be a great transition to planter beds outside. Until then, your baby plants will be safe inside, away from hungry squirrels, and as a bonus, they’ll make your room look lively. 

Naturally, these are not the only ways to utilize glass jars. The list just keeps on going. One thing I’d suggest is taking my dad’s lesson and running with it. What else can you use a glass jar for? 

And, the glass jar is only one example. What else can you reuse in your household?

Contact Sophie Horvath at 

LAST UPDATED

JUNE 16, 2022


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