This week let’s talk about recycling. With America Recycles Day coming up in November, now is the perfect time to get a jump start on what we want to recycle and how we can help our planet. But today we won’t be discussing just basic recycling because most of us already know the fundamentals of recycling. Today we will talk about recycling and re-purposing glass containers and how to make it fun for kids any time of the year.
Recycling, reusing, and repurposing. All of them are similar in their definitions but can individually be taken more in depth. When recycling glass, you are basically taking that glass bottle to a recycling center and having the glass broken down to be made into something else. Reusing is when you generally use the same product several times until it has worn out or no longer functional. Repurposing is taking an object and finding a new use for it. In the case of glass bottles, let’s learn how to repurpose them which helps the environment as well as saves money and brings out the creativity in all of us.
Repurposing glass bottles is actually pretty easy and something kids can do any time with any size bottle. When my son was in Kindergarten, his teacher had requested used glass bottles for a class project. Of course I was intrigued, so I sent my son into his class with a few glass bottles. A few weeks later my son came home with a very special surprise on Mother’s Day. His class had taken the glass bottles (after they were cleaned out by the teacher) and made adorable and ultra creative glass jars of virtual nature. My son’s bottles were filled with a hand-drawn card, some colorful rocks, feathers, and something that glittered (probably for effect). I thought it was rather creative and different and went a few steps beyond the usual glass vase or glass pencil holder. Not that those aren’t unique ways of repurposing glass bottles, but finding different and unusual ways often sparks something even more creative in a child and helps expand his horizons.
So on that note, let’s take a look at 7 ways we can repurpose a glass bottle (or jar).
-We all have a few pasta sauce jars living in our fridge. They are the ideal size for reusing and repurposing and absolutely no need to recycle them. Since they are already filled with edible food, they can be easily washed out, dried, and ready for your project. This is fun and easy for kids of any age and you can make a few as gifts or for yourself. Edible gifts can include anything that’s easy for you and for your recipient. Try ideas such as homemade granola, spice rubs, ready-to-make hot cocoa (a favorite for kids), and pretty much anything you can fit into a jar that’s easily reusable and stored. For great recipes, check out Martha Stewart’s site: http://www.marthastewart.com/269264/edible-gift-ideas
-This is perfect for college students who don’t have much space in their dorm rooms or apartments. Take a few glass jars and fill each one with needles, thread of various colors (be sure to include lots of black, white, and beige), thimble, chalk, and buttons. You can also add in any other items that you think your recipient might need. Label each jar with the items inside so it’s easy to grab when necessary.
-Give your children some art supplies and let them have fun! Have them gather items from nature such as small rocks, leaves, and flowers and decorate the glass jars however they want. Let them create masterpieces for you to show off in your living room or present them as gifts on special occasions. Put some items inside the container as well as on the outside to make it more personal.
Natural Glass Vases:
-Glass is quite beautiful on any surface and for almost any occasion. Reuse glass jars or bottles as vases to set on dining tables or mantles. Fill the vases with fresh soil and add in some unique flowers such as orchids and violets. Herbs also do well in glass jars as decoration or cooking uses.
Small Toy Holders:
-My son has tons of Lego pieces. If we collected all of the pieces, we could probably open our own Lego store. Yes, he has that many! So, when I had some larger glass jars that I cleaned out, I put all of his Lego tires in them. Tires are a hot commodity for Lego car builders and he was constantly losing them or I’d find them underneath the couch or underneath the rug. Smaller and harder to find pieces such as accessories for your Lego figures can also fit into glass jars. They are easier for builders to see what’s inside the jars so they can (hopefully) put them back in quicker.
-Instead of buying brand new glass jars to put your flour, sugar, or dried herbs in, try reusing glass jars from your used sauces and such. Sure, the newer jars may be prettier and fancier, but you’ve got perfect jars in your fridge or pantry already that just needs to be given new purposes. The used jars work just as well if not better than the newly store-bought ones. Just make sure to clean them out really well if you’re storing food that can pick up other scents such as sugar and flour.
-If you go to certain restaurants that like to serve beverages in oversized glass jars then take those examples to try them at home. Glass jars are easier to wash and rarely leave any residue. Plus, if you add in a cool straw the beverages are more fun to drink.
So have fun with these ideas or creating ones on your own. We’re already filling up our landfills with so much trash that whenever possible, reuse and repurpose what you already have.
*Please note that with any glass container, there is a slight possibility of lead remnants. Lead is found in the earth so they are naturally residual in glass or any natural compound found in soil. However, most consumable glass containers are safe to use and are usually vigorously tested for lead.
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