25 New Uses for Old Jars

CC BY 2.0. Joy/Flickr

Given the choice, most of us treehugging types will opt for a product that comes housed in glass rather than plastic. There's the satisfying heft of a jar, the clink in the shopping cart, the lack of leaching chemicals, and the ease of recycling ... among other things. Glass jars rock. But perhaps one of their most beguiling traits is also one of their most bedeviling: Their potential for reuse. Because although the possibilities are many, the empty jars – eagerly waiting to fulfill some type of practical function – seem to proliferate like rabbits in the cabinet. They're too useful to toss, but how many applications do you actually employ them in? If you have a jumble of jars that need jobs, consider calling them into service for any of the following tasks.

1. Contain goopy cakes

Meet the Cleveland Cassata Cake, above, a chiffon number with custard, fresh berries and whipped cream frosting – best served in a jar.

2. Show off your souvenirs

Uses for old jars

Pleuntje/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

3. Tame an unruly button collection

Uses for old jars

Liz/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

4. Load them up at the grocery store

©. Zero Waste Home (used with permission)

© Zero Waste Home (used with permission)Follow the wise words of Katherine: "I now shop for food with a collection of 1-liter glass canning jars in a big basket. When I approach the deli, meat, or fish counters, I hold out my glass jar and politely ask the employee to put it in the jar."

5. Light a lantern

Uses for old jars

Maureen Didde/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

6. Create a sanctuary for succulents

Uses for old jars

Stacie DaPonte/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

7. Poach perfect eggs

Uses for old jars

Nan Palmero/Flickr/CC BY 2.0 Actually, coddle, since they're not cooked directly in the water, but so much tidier. Crack one egg per small jar (a few drops of olive oil are optional), place jar in pan of gently boiling water, let cook for 8 to 10 minutes, check for doneness, remove carefully, decant or eat directly from jar.

8. Constrain your spools and assorted junk

Uses for old jars

Julie Rybarczyk/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

9. Hatch a tiny forest

Uses for old jars

Joss Smithson/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

10. Whip up some homemade hostess gifts


Flickr/mommyknows/CC BY 2.0 Be the life of the party: Bring little gifts from the pantry to make your hostess happy.

11. Create a cloche for crafted treasures

Uses for old jars

Quazie/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

12. Bring a salad to work

Uses for old jars

Steven Depolo/Flickr/CC BY 2.0