8 Eco-Friendly + Functional Ways to Reuse Glass Jars

My latest hoarding obsession? Glass jars.

Yup. They come in all shapes and sizes to be used for just about anything around the house, and…they’re FREE!

Instead of throwing them away, I started collecting and reusing glass jars from pasta sauce, pickles, coconut oil, salsa, and so many more products I was already buying. It’s like a free bonus!

Not only that, by reusing these jars I’m saving them from being sent to the landfill. Yay for saving the environment!

There are so many ways to reuse glass jars that the possibilities are literally endless. It’s time to stop wasting and start getting creative with what we already have. No need to go out and buy new, empty jars. Simply repurpose the containers you’re already buying!

Here are eight ways I’ve upcycled glass jars in my home. Scroll to the bottom for super easy tips on removing labels and glue from glass jars, as well as cleaning wax out of a candle jar!

8 Eco-Friendly + Functional Ways to Reuse Glass Jars

Leftovers/Food Prep

Glass jars are great for storing leftover dips and sauces, pasta and rice dishes, and so many other foods. Most jars have lids that seal really tight so you can trust your food will keep well. On top of that, you don’t have to worry about contamination from plastic tupperware.

I also re-use a glass pickle jar to make chia seed pudding. They’re also great for…well, pickling…if you like to make your own sauerkraut.

Pack your breakfast, lunch, or a snack in glass jars as an easy and portable way to take food on the go!

Travel

ways to reuse a glass jar

Glass containers can also be handy for traveling. While you don’t want to bring too much glass with you on a plane (hello, weight limit…and possibly shattered glass!), it could be handy to bring a couple jars.

I use a small glass container with a super tight lid for coconut oil while I travel because I don’t want to bring my whole bottle from home. Also the plastic bottle it comes in tends to leak. MESSY!

So if you’ve got any liquids that might leak on the plane, you should consider swapping the container with a secure glass jar.

Bulk Food Storage

This is one of my favorite ways to re-use glass jars. Whether you buy from your grocery store’s bulk section or you just buy a lot of one thing, glass jars are a great way to organize foods that tend to take up a lot of unnecessary space.

I spent an hour going through my pantry and jarring anything that would fit. The end result: a beautiful, well-organized and more spacious pantry! I also put a piece of scotch tape on each jar with the expiration date written on it.

I didn’t have a glass jar large enough to hold my baking flour so I re-used the large plastic container from my Sunwarrior protein powder. It keeps less plastic in the landfills and helps me organize my cupboard.

Bathroom Counter Storage

how to reuse a candle jar

Not only can you re-use food jars, you can also re-use empty candle holders. Some candles come in beautiful jars that can be cleaned out and used for so many things around the house!

In the bathroom in particular, you can store cotton balls, dental floss picks, q-tips, and more! You can also use them as a glass for your toothbrush and tongue scraper.

Fancy candle jars can completely change the vibe of your bathroom and make it feel more put together.

Other super simple ways to repurpose a glass jar include:

  • as a drink cup
  • as a vase for flowers, or
  • as a pot for a small plant
  • as a desk organizer for all your pens, paper clips, etc.

How to get the label and glue off a glass jar

If you’re going to reuse glass jars, you’ll need to know how to get the label off and the glass clean. Otherwise you’re stuck ripping tiny pieces of label off one at a time as your frustration level rises.

While I haven’t found a way to simply soak it in a magic solution and have it all fall off clean, the method I use is effective and doesn’t require a ton of elbow grease.

If your label is paper, start at step 1. If your label if plastic, pull it off and start at step 4.

Step 1

If every square inch of the label isn’t glued to the jar, start by ripping it off. If it’s all glued down, go to step 2.

Step 2

Get a large bowl and soak the jar in warm/hot water for 2 minutes. Soaking will help soften whatever paper is left on the jar.

Step 3

Remove the jar from the water and begin running your fingers up and down the jar where the paper is to make it roll up and come off. Get as much of it off as you can.

Step 4

Using any cooking oil (I use olive oil), drizzle about a teaspoon on the jar and start lightly scrubbing with the scratchy side of a sponge. You don’t have to scrub super hard. Just have patience and you will notice the glue start disappearing. Add more oil as needed.

Step 5

Wash your jar with soap and admire your work!

How to get wax out of a candle jar

If you want to repurpose a candle jar, you’ll first have to get those remnants of wax of the inside of the jar. You may even have areas on the jar that have been blackened. This is all very easy to clean off. Note: Please use caution when following these steps.

Step 1

Pour boiling water into the candle jar up to the point where there is no wax on the sides. You’ll notice the wax immediately start to melt and rise to the top.

Step 2

If the metal wick holder is still stuck to the bottom under water, use a long object (like an old knife or wooden skewer) to dislodge it.

Step 3

Allow the water to cool and the wax to harden.

Step 4

Remove the wax and the metal wick holder, pour the water outside. You don’t want any wax remnants clogging up your drains!

Step 5

Wash your jar with soap and admire your work!

Tip: If your candle jar is colored and you would rather it be clear, try gently scraping the inside wall while the hot water is in it. If the color starts coming off, keep going!

You now have everything you need to get started reusing glass jars instead of sending them to the landfill. Prepare to have a more organized and functional home!

What’s your favorite way to reuse a glass jar? Share in the comments!
And please share this post on social media to inspire others!

Vegan Grocery List

Start buying more products in reusable glass jars! Add them to your grocery list.

While you’re at it, check out this Ultimate Vegan Grocery List for a pre-built, mobile-friendly, and totally customizable shopping list.

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