19 August 2010

Two green bottles for recycling

I wandered out to Hanno's big shed yesterday afternoon looking for Alice's old trampoline bed.  I rarely go out there, it's Hanno's territory and while there are very precious things in there - like my ancient school case full of old report cards and photos, there are also some things I don't want to know about - like jars of screws, too many hammers and a vintage fan I should sell.  No sooner had I walked in there when Hanno called out: "What are you looking for?"  LOL  I told him and he came in and showed me that the bed was high up near the roof on a ledge he'd built to hold a couple of old beds and mattresses.  Okay, so I wasn't going to get Alice's old bed but I was in the shed so decided to look around.  I knew I was there for a reason, just as I walked behind the hay stack, there were two little beauties just waiting for me - two old green bottles - one is 1½ litres/quarts, the other is 2 litres/quarts.  I swooped them up and took them inside.

I love recycling containers of all sorts but glass containers are my main prize.  And these, both large bottles with good seals, will help me provide cold water and lemon and fruit cup cordial over the coming summer months.  The cork on the wine bottle has been jammed in the top for who knows how many years and is now easy to take out and replace, while it still seals well. I also recycle stoneware mustard jars, as well as glass jam jars to use for my own homemade jam. There are some authorities who say you should never reuse lids when preserving/canning, I do it all the time and have never had a problem.  I make sure the lid is in good condition, the little rubber seal on the underside of the lid is not perished and there is no rust nor dents.  After boiling in the waterbath, if that little seal is indented, that is a good indication that I can store that jam in my cupboard for the next year.  Most lids last about six batches of jam, and for me, that's about six years of good use before I have to think about binning the jar. But if I find a replacement lid, that jar can go on indefinitely.  Uses for old jam jars.

And just a little tip, when you store biscuits in a jar, use the jars with the flip down metal catch - they're often French or Italian jars that can be bought fairly cheaply, or recycled if you buy the right product.  You can see that type of jar about, just to the left of the Thomas flask. I've found over the years if you use a screw cap, often the screw cap won't be secured properly and you won't know it until you go to get a biscuit for your morning tea and the lid isn't screwed on tightly.  The biscuits are stale.  Having the flip down catch, makes it perfectly clear that the lid is on or off, and you will save your biscuits every time.

I'm sure many of you are already recycling as much as you can but for those who are new to this, maximise your chances of success.  It's no use recycling anything if you don't use it.  Set up a cupboard to put all your recycled materials; clean everything properly, let them dry and add it all to your cupboard.  That cupboard will be your reminder to use a recycled container rather than buying something new.  When I got rid of my dishwasher, Hanno put in two shelves and that is where I hold most of my storage jars and bottles.

I know that recycling plastic is a great thing to do but I don't like recycling plastic that we'll use for food or drinks - even if it's food quality.  I have used recycled food quality plastic in the past, and still use a limited amount, but there is so much conflicting information regarding the leeching of toxins from plastics, I've decided to stay away from it until the scientists have a more definitive answer.  You can check what the symbols on plastics mean here.

This is from environment-green.com
  • By recycling1 plastic bottle not only saves anywhere from 100 to 1000 years in the landfill but also saves the environment from the emissions in producing new bottles as well as the oil used to produce that bottle.
  • For every1 ton of plastic that is recycled we save the equivalent of 2 people’s energy use for 1 year, the amount of water used by 1 person in 2 month’s time and almost 2000 pounds of oil.
 That is powerful stuff, but again, be very careful recycling plastic for food or drinks.

There are many different things you can recycle and by doing that you're helping with a huge international problem.  We've all heard about the floating rubbish in our oceans and we should all make a conscious decision to do what we can, and then follow up that decision with positive action.  I would love you to tell me how and what you recycle.  I am always looking for ways to improve what I'm doing and am interested in learning as much as I can.



  1. Hi Rhonda, I do eactly the same as you for the jars,I always recycle and had to resort to buying 3 new ones recently then found a bag a friend had dropped off of her used ones. I do use the plastic small coke bottles too ( I don't drink it but same friend does) we squeeze our orange and lemon juice in them and feeze it,It is exactly the right amount for 3 when defrosted and I use the larger fruit juice ones ready for the summer corials with lemon and orange juice frozen, after reading this I hope I don't poison us!.WE use any old stockings and pant hose to tie around tomatoes or plants.I imagine there will be so many ideas added to this blog.I will go and read your link as to the plastic dilema lol.blessings Carole

  2. I'm the official Jar Collector...so my dear husband says!
    I have saved/kept peanut butter jars 3# size and am asking our local elementary school if the teachers would like them for supply storage.
    I use the jars with metal snap clamp (?) in my pantry for rice, beans, pop corn, barley.

    Another Thrifty note I would like to share:
    Recently our son needed a large box to send a guitar thru UPS.UPS charge for this item was $85.00 for packing and shipping, $21.00 alone was for the box! Lucky for our son he mentioned this before doing anything cause I had kept a box large enough for this and had foam inside for protecion! I laughed and told him he now only owed ME $45.00! Half Price Sale for being Thrifty!
    . ~~HUGS~~

  3. I have a small collection of jars which I hope to use shortly for some jams and pickles. I hang on to some boxes and also the padded postage bags and the strong polythene ones too. I grew my seedlings in cardboard egg cartons - they were perfect as I could put the little egg shaped pot straight into the soil without disturbing the roots. Christmas cards often become labels for next years Christmas presents.I often repurpose old clothes into something new. My daughter had 2 embroidered tops which we turned into cushion covers and I'm currently working on a lap quilt for her which was once a 'gypsy style' skirt. We loved the fabric but not as a skirt!

  4. When storing biscuits, if you have more than one packet open at a time, you should also make sure to store dry and 'wet' biscuits separately. By 'wet' biscuits I mean those that might have a filling, custard creams for example. If you mix them, they'll go soft very quickly.

  5. Rhonda, how do you get your bottles clean? I always keep wide-wouthed glass, but I have hesitated to keep ones with narrow necks because I can't see how to clean them out properly.

    I admit, I don't have a bottle brush, but I'm not convinced one would fit into most of them, like the molasses jars soaking in my sink right now. And I've contemplated keeping some nice glass bottles that held olive oil, but oil can be so tough to clean - is it possible/worth it for those?

  6. Moonwaves, I never buy biscuits. We only have those I bake here.

    Tanya, I use a bottle brush, soaking in hot water and every so often, I soak with a slurp of bleach added to the bottle. You can buy narrow bottle brushes. If you can't find one at the hardware, look at your brewers' shop.

  7. Hi Rhonda,

    I think I've mentioned before that I use rubber gloves that have holes in them to make elastic bands. My grandmother always did this. Another thing she used to do was wash out her plastic bags for reuse. When I think of it she was the thriftiest woman I ever knew and made rock cakes and rissoles to die for, but then she lived in an era when necessity truely was the mother of all invention. I am really trying to emulate her. Thank you for this post I'll enjoy reading everyones ideas.

    Blessings Gail

  8. Here everyone asks before throwing a jar in the recycle bin, they must be scared of being yelled at. :) Rhonda have you seen the post at the Co-op today? I think you might find something else to put in your two green bottles.

  9. Here in South Australia, we can take plastic and glass bottles and drink cans to the recyclers and get 10c per item - even beer stubbies so for every ten stubbies/cans/bottles, you get $1.00 back. This adds up quickly and every couple of months when I go, I get about $35 cash back in my hand.

    Our local council implemented recycling bins so now I have a yellow lidded 'clean recyclables' bin, a red lidded for 'landfill' bin and a green lidded 'food scraps and green garden waste' bin. The council supplies us with a small kitchen scrap bin and biodegradable bin liners so that the waste can be put into the green bin and go for composting.

    I cannot understand why the other states have not adopted the 10c deposit idea which SA has had for ages. It would be a much cleaner Australia if you got cash for cans!

    Cheers - Joolz

  10. I didn't realize that Austalia didn't pay for bottle returns (except SA?). This has been the case all of my life in Canada. As a kid I remember going into the corner store with a handful of bottles worth $0.05 each and the store owner would redeem them and let us buy penny candy.

  11. Hi Rhonda

    I am very keen to vote for your blog but can't get the link to work, can you check it please?



  12. You're a woman after one's own heart there!


  13. Oh, what a lovely treat you have there!
    I love glass jars and bottles. DH found organic juice on sale for a dollar a bottle, and now I have 6 lovely bottles for whatever I need. They are immensely handy.
    I don't recycle plastic bottles for food or drink uses either, but a post on the forum gave pictures and instructions for making a green house out of plastic bottles. Amazing! It takes 1,500 bottles, so imagine saving all of those from the oceans and landfills?
    The Girl in the Pink Dress
    PS Have you ever heard of The Urban Homestead, or Path to Freedom? They really inspire me, and they have so many creative ways to recycle things!
    They also have a video on youtube, and it was great to see such a message getting out.

  14. The more I recycle at the cabin, the less I have to haul back to town for disposal. I have a collection of bottles and jars under the sink and find myself using them for a variety of things. I do like larger plastic peanut butter "jars" with screw lids to store dry foods to keep them fresher and away from cabin "critters." - Margy

  15. Hi Rhonda , I can relate to you in regards to keeping glass jars I also have a cupborad overfilling with glass jars and bottles I cannot throw them away they come in handy for so many things jam,relish the list is too great ! I also wrote a post on my blog 43 uses for glass bottles and glass jars ! My bog is called simple living if you aren't too busy one day I would love you to drop by !

    Kind regards Sherrie :):)


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