As we produce more rubbish and recycling at home during the lockdown period, finding ways to reduce our waste footprint can still be fun and creative.

Taking small actions can help nudge a family or household’s mindset over time towards new practices. From fun activities that work well with kids and adults, to seeing the opportunity to start a small business, this piece will showcase some simple tips and ideas that will help you and others start to rethink and reuse some of the common items that we might already have access to at home.

Today we look at the humble glass jar, a container that can serve many practical and creative purposes.

4 creative and useful ways to reuse glass jars:

1. Turn jars into candles. A neighbour started a business from their kitchen in lockdown called Bread and Candles selling beautiful homemade candles in reused jam jars. After a call out for used jars from neighbours, they cleaned, prepared and labelled the finished candles using their own design printed onto sticker paper. Support them or find inspiration by visiting their Instagram page, or have a go making your own, by sourcing your own materials!

    (Image courtesy of Bread and Candles)

    2. Brighten up your saved jars with colourful pens that can easily be sourced from art supplies business CASS Art, who are delivering art and craft materials nationwide during lockdown. Perhaps a group craft session for both kids and adults in place of yet another quiz – who can come up with the best biscuit jar design?

    3. Preserve the freshness of dried spices, teabags, coffee, and cupboard essentials by decanting them into jars of all sizes. Those little jars that pesto and pastes come in? Say goodbye to tumbling piles of spice packets when you open the cupboard…

    (Decorated spice jars)

    4. Glass jars also make excellent plant pots for seedlings or even herbs. With access to garden centres still limited for many people during this period, get started on your kitchen herb nursery today by reading up on the many web articles that detail how to grow seeds in jar containers.

    (Herb nursery)

    And when it comes to recycling them?

    Here at First Mile, we will always advocate reducing consumption of and reusing materials before recycling them, as per the guidance of the waste hierarchy.

    To support manufacturers that use recycled glass in producing new glass products, First Mile offers a dedicated glass-only recycling service to businesses, which improves the yield and quality of glass than can be recovered, graded, and turned into cullet, in order to go back into glass products like jars, again and again.

    At home, council services will typically accept glass and other materials in mixed recycling, or you may find bottle banks locally which encourage you to sort different colours of glass.