Garbage Into Gold: Great Ways to Recycle Old Containers
In these days of planetary consciousness and squeezing every nickel, any new idea helps. Here’s an “extreme green” list of ways to put previously discarded items to new use.
Empty Chianti Bottles.
In addition to great long term candle holders, they are also great for olive oil dispensers, particularly if you buy your in a large bulk can. You can either add a pourable spout, or stick with the cork from the original bottle. It’s a much easier size to manage on your counter or back of the stove.
Wine Bottles in General.
They really are fabulous creative fodder for any number of things. For example, the carafe – shaped bottles from Almaden can be used for just that, a carafe. They can also be used for urban chic flower vases or sangria pitchers. Got a cool looking narrower bottle in cobalt blue or some other color? Consider using it as a dish soap dispenser or a container for DIY herbed vinegars.
Gallon Jars and Jugs.
Whether it’s the plastic mayonnaise ones re-used for storing bulk brownie or white sauce mix, or giant glass containers from pepper rings or sandwich stackers to use for your own large batches of pickled eggs, these come in handy. Particularly if you only need a few and don’t want to dish out for the designer store bought version.
Smaller Glass Jars with Screw on Lids.
These are great for under the shelf storage of nails and other hardware items, beads, buttons and more. Attach the top to the bottom of the undershelf and screw the clear jars on and off as you need them. Great for garages, shops, art studious, craft and sewing rooms, or anywhere you need transparent storage and a polished coordinated look isn’t quite so important. Also, I’ve always liked the look for a relaxed garden party of those hanging tree candles with small glass jars, tea lights and coat hanger wire. Depending on your theme, this will either fit in with what you want or it won’t.
The Sixteen Ounce Grated Cheese Shakers.
The smaller eight ounce ones are fine too, but I prefer to save these slightly larger ones when possible. If you’re going to buy the grated Parmesan anyway, then this is worth trying. I use them by removing the labels and filling them with things like homemade spice blends, dry BBQ rubs, and even salt or baking soda to keep by kitchen and bathroom sinks. The ridges are large enough to host a P-Touch label, they’re clear for see-through organization, and the tops have both a spoon-out and shaker side as any great powdered product dispenser should.
Folgers Coffee Jugs.
Red or green, both are great. They have a built-in wide grip handle, snap on lid and a wide mouth opening for easy filling. Great for composting crocks, holding vegetable ends or chicken bones to save up for making homemade stocks, and more. Only worth it if you are planning on buying some anyway, but if you are, save the containers. They’re really worth hanging on to.
Add a pump dispenser, deliver leftovers to a shut-in, and more. There are loads of things you can do with these things. And I just found this hot old tip made new again: Use a mason jar on your blender to grind or blend things right in the jar! Then, just remove and add the cap that came with it. This link shows pictures to illustrate how to do it. Apparently, the older blenders used to come with a mason jar included and everybody did this. Who knew? Also, why I didn’t run across this before is beyond me . . . check out this hanging light project using mason jars. Very urban chic, in my opinion. Great for decorating your loft.
These are my top picks, but if I’ve learned anything from writing for Wise Bread, it’s that we have some of the most informed and creative readers on the internet. Got a great garbage into gold idea for old containers? Sound off below!