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F.A.R.T.S – reusable containers

F.A.R.T.S stands for “Frugal Actions Related to Sustainability”, and it’s a series that I try to write about once a month.  F.A.R.T.S are all about small actions that you can take in your life to reduce your footprint on this planet.

This month, I wanted to address the idea of reusable containers.  For years, I rocked the cheap plastic containers available from any store.  My “top Tupperware saleswoman of Washington State” Nana rolled over in her grave on a daily basis.

Then, I read more about plastic and some of the icky side effects that come with it.  I was moved to action, but it was a turtle-slow action given the cost associated with it.  I’m probably 95% glass now, and love it, but it was a multi-year process.  Here are a few tips for making the switch yourself:

  1. Slow and steady wins the race.  Don’t skip a mortgage payment to replace everything all at once.
  2. Hit up a thriftshop.  Pop some tags.
  3. Use mason jars.  Wide-mouth mason jars, with 1 inch of headspace (the space from the top of the food to the top of the jar) are safe for freezing.  I lose maybe one jar per year due to breakage.  Just don’t throw a frozen jar in to hot water and you should be golden.  New mason jars can be purchased for about $11 for 12 jars.  Most thrift stores sell them for about $.25.
  4. Try freecycle.  I snagged 3 milk crates full of them recently.  Because I have so many, I offered them to a coworker who has asked me to teach her to can this summer.
  5. Try craigslist.
  6. Wait out Costco sales.  They sell their Glasslock kit (I want to say 8-10 containers and lids) for $6 off , about twice a year.
  7. Challenge yourself to go under your grocery budget for the month.  Use the savings to “treat” yourself to a few containers.

With all the health benefits of leaving plastic behind, the best reason for switching to glass?  If you air-dry your dishes in the dishwasher like we do, glass dries soooooooo much faster!

Boom.  There it is.

You can do as much research in to toxins as you want, but it all comes down to the fact that it makes my life easier in the long run.

After three hours air drying.  See all the water droplets on the plastic containers?  See how the glass is bone dry?  Oh yeah baby!


Altruistic about reducing waste in the landfill, and chemicals in my food?  Nope.

Lazy? Yep.

I’ve shared this over at Brambleberry CottageFresh Food Wednesdays, Tuned in Tuesday, and Backyard Farming Connection.

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16 comments on “F.A.R.T.S – reusable containers”

  1. Haha. I’d love to get some pyrex food storage, but as you said, they can get expensive. I don’t mean to sound smart or anything, but do you can leftovers, or use the mason jars exclusively for canning stuff?

    • I was going to ask that too! Do you store all food in them, like leftovers and take lunches in them, or are they just for long term food storage? My uncles just gave me 6 huge double stacked boxes of Mason jars, so I am very interested in the different things I can do with them.

    • No, I don’t “can” the leftovers at all. I just put food in there like a normal tupperware container and freeze them.

      I will often store soup and other things in them in the fridge to throw in my lunch.

      Mason jars are also fabulous for dry goods storage like nuts, rice, beans, etc. Just use it as a typical container; no canning necessary.

    • Perfect! Thank you so much!

  2. We were exclusively using mason jars for food storage for the longest time. I’d just take my mom’s lids and rings from the previous year and use them. We follow a website that does ‘a deal a day’, and when they had these 18 piece Pyrex storage sets for $19.99, we snapped two up. I love them. I still use Mason jars, but mostly when the fridge is fill and I need a container that goes up more than out.

    I still like using the mason jars when we tote food with us. There’s basically zero chance of leakage or the lid popping off, and I’ve crocheted a few cozies so that my husband can reheat his lunch right in the jar and just eat as is, without having to transfer to another dish.

    I also use mason jars for all my dry storage. That’s my one splurge. I obsessively buy funky old jars on ebay and craigslist to store things in.

  3. We LOVE our glass storage. I even started acquiring glass mixing bowls as well because I was worried about mixing foods in my stained and scratched plastic bowls.

    We use our mason jars for everything. Leftovers, storing salad stuff, raw veggies, craft items… You name it, we’ve probably tried to put it in a mason jar.

    I also love to collect funky and odd glass jars. So pretty lined up on a shelf with colorful crafty supplies in them!

    • Oh, and I forgot to mention that we reuse any glass jars that we purchase food in. The organic juice bottles that we use for the kefir water will start being used to store finished kefir water in the fridge. Other ways to reuse these types of glass jars are really the same for how you would use mason jars- Food storage, drinking vessels, craft storage, cut flowers, etc.

    • I’ve never found any pretty bottles, but I’m always on the lookout for some!!!

  4. Your acronym still makes me giggle. It hasn’t gotten “old” yet.
    I just wanted you to know that.

    • I kinda love you! Glad you’re still enjoying it. My original plan was for a series called TOOTS – Tiny Options Obtaining Total Sustainability. My friend Angela convinced me that FARTS was better.

    • I totally agree with Angela! And not just because she has an awesome name!

  5. I really want to make the switch to glass. Your slow and steady approach is what I need to remember. I’ll start switching out a few at a time! Thank you!
    Neaten Your Nest

  6. O my gosh! You will love it so much!! I was lucky enough to find a 9 piece Pyrex set for $20 during xmas sales (and of course grabbed 4 sets – gifted 2!) and I will NEVER go back to plastic! First off, I find it absolutely disgusting that if you reheat certain foods (i.e. spaghetti) the tupperware is forever a dingy orangey-red. Uh, ewe. . . Secondly, the plastic ones just look so junky in the cabinet and it never fails that they all come tumbling down when you just need one. Then there is the whole bad for you chemicals of plastic junk. . . Not good.

    Plus, I can use my Pyrex for cooking/baking! I use my medium sized rectangular dish to cook chicken boobs in the oven alllllll the time. Then I only dirty one dish in both cooking and storage. Awesome for me who has no dishwasher and loathes doing the dishes!

  7. I use canning jars for all sorts of storing and freezing. This week, I beat two eggs at a time and put those two eggs in 4 oz. Ball canning/freezing jars and froze the tiny jars with two eggs for use when my hens don’t lay this winter. I dehydrate bananas and all sorts of fruit and store in quart canning jars. I use 1/2 gallon jars to store pasta. I put the pasta in the jar and store in my upright freezer for 48 hours to kill eggs. I use quart and 1/2 gallon Ball canning/freezing jars for cannisters even though I own lots of airtight cannisters.

    I only buy peanut butter in glass jars–Smuckers, pasta sauce in glass and spices in glass and all are reused.

    I try not to cook in Pyrex because it can explode while baking or just sitting properly on the counter–not on cold or wet place. I cook in cast iron all the time except for the Corelle I own.

    Now, I do believe that Tupperware is the only safe plastic around. I have lots from years of buying and will not get rid of it. But, I no longer buy it. The only plastic I will use other than Tupperware is the square sandwich boxes. Nothing liquid or heated is ever placed in one, and I rarely use them, just for the occasional sandwich.

    Glass is my choice other than the exceptions above. Now, Ball sells 4 oz. spice jars with a shaker top at Walmart. You can even buy the tops to put on your own small mouth Ball or whatever jars. I really want those. I grow cayenne, dry, and make my own pepper. Same thing with garlic–dried, ground, and used as spice in shaker.

  8. I have started saving the glass jars and have a pile in the basement to be cleaned with goo gone so that they are really clean and shiny. I love my mason jars. I use them mainly for making premade mixes in the cupboard. I find that it is much easier to make things when you mix all the dry ingredients so that you jsut dump it in the bowl. I have scones and corn bread at all time. I think that I am going to start one for chocolate chip cookies too but I wanted to try to encourage making healthier things with my quick mixes and not using box mixes. They are super easy and go right in the freezer if I need to keep them an extra long time!! I still have plastic rubbermaid containers for food storage but they are the hard plastic that doesn’t stain or melt. We try not to put them in the microwave but they are great because they are all the same size and they fit in a drawer for easy access. I got a few glass ones but they are tippy when they stack so I have to keep them in a cupboard instead of the drawer 🙂 Great FART!!

  9. Your blog is great! I am new from southern charm! I would love for you to check out my blog and hopefully follow me back! Nicole