November 22, 2010

Reusing Packaging

Last week I was making some no bake bar cookies using a small box of corn flakes.  I emptied the corn flakes into a bowl and I flattened the box for our recycling bin.  Then I looked at the wax paper inner bag that the corn flakes had been in.  I held it up and decided that it was too good to throw away.  I put it in a drawer where I keep my foil, plastic wrap and baggies.  We went through 2 more boxes of cereal last week and from each one I saved the inner bag and put it in the drawer.

Today I needed to crush some graham crackers to put in my ham ball recipe and I reached in the drawer for one of those cereal bags.  I tossed in the graham crackers and I crushed them using a rolling pin.  Then I poured the contents into the meat mixture and put the bag back in the drawer for another use.  I used an entire sleeve of graham crackers and the crackers were wrapped in the same type of paper.  I saved it knowing that I could use it to wrap homemade cookies for my husband for a snack at work. 

My husband wanted to know why I was taking a picture of garbage.
He doesn't get it.

I have been saving spaghetti sauce jars and lids as I think they will make a great "package" for those "gift in a jar" recipes.  Why go out and buy mason jars when you can use something that cost you next to nothing?  I also use these jars to store leftover oil from frying chicken and to put homemade soup in to be given to a family.

I save the styrofoam trays that our produce is packaged in at the grocery store.  These make great "trays" for cookie giving.  Never, never, reuse the ones that meat is packaged in.   I save the plastic berry baskets from strawberries as they will look great filled with pieces of fudge and then wrapped entirely in plastic wrap for gift giving.  What makes these baskets great is that they are already a beautiful shade of "Christmas" green.  My favorite jars are the ones that chili sauce comes in.  They have a "neck" on them and they are perfect to put a few flowers in for a vase.  In the summer time I have several of these on my kitchen counter, kitchen table and patio table with one or two flowers (daisies are perfect).

I always wash and keep the plastic bags that brown sugar or confectioner's sugar come in.  I take ground beef and package it in 1 lb. packages and wrap it in a little plastic wrap and then I take one of these "sugar" bags and place the hamburger meat in it for added protection from freezer burn.  I do the same with the ziplock bags that shredded cheese comes in. I always wash these out thoroughly in soapy water and since the meat is also wrapped in plastic wrap prior to being put in these bags, I feel pretty safe in using them. 

I never used to re-use the bags, jars, baskets and trays that our food is packaged in, but since being home full time I have looked at all of these items in a different light.  I can throw everything into the recyling bin or I can recycle it myself.  As much as possible I re-use these items and if I can't, they go into the recycling bin.


Maureen said...

Martha you make me feel so guilty, as I tend to open the recycle bin and toss these kinds of things away, but from now on I,ll be looking at them in a different light.

Loving your blog.

Milehimama @ Mama Says said...

I have a whole bucket of jars and lids, too. We use them to store dry goods, make salad dressings, store oil, and the kids take them off for various projects like catching bugs or whatever.

I've been saving my cereal liners because I read you can make your own fruit rollups using them.

Martha said...


I started having the "mind set" of looking at a glass jar and realizing that although I could recyle it (which is a wonderful thing to do), I could also reuse it in my household. Not until going to one income did I really start to look at things differently.


My family doesn't eat fruit rollups any more, but I have to admit that the cereal liners would be perfect for them. Of course, when I have grand children someday, I will be making those fruit rollups for them.