I consider it a triumph when I can extend the life of packaging beyond a single use. To add value to packaging sometimes requires as little as soaking labels off jars or cutting the flaps off a box. Then I can re-label as needed, using masking tape and a felt pen.
This photo shows some of the uses I’ve found. Jars, preferably those with metal tops, work for everything from keeping mice out of chicken food (and pantry supplies) to serving as storage containers for my dried herbs. Claussen pickle jar, chutney jar, and preserves jar shown. The preserves jar holds my chocolate chip/dinner mint/nut snack food. The tall jar is a re-purposed red wine vinegar jar that serves as a pen dispenser. It dispenses one pen at a time. The plastic topped jars that I’ve converted into “Supreme Court Balls Starter Kits” held Publix natural peanut butter (crunchy).
The “Supreme Court Balls Starter Kits” were an inspiration following the infamous 5-4 “Kelo” (eminent domain) decision of 2005. This land grab by Pfizer pharmaceuticals, acting through the New London, Connecticut City Council, invalidated property rights for individuals when a higher bidder comes along. Subsequent events by all levels of government have proved they are quick to eminent domain property whenever it suits their financial interests. The jars pictured here hold coins. One is full of pennies, $6.80 when filled to the brim. The pennies weigh 2.025 kilos or 4.45 pounds. The jar holds 400 ml or 1.75 cups of water. It is 12.7 cm (5 inches) high and 24.75 cm (9.75 inches) in circumference. So this jar is also a teaching tool for metrics. It also highlights my belief that saving spare change in jars is a good hedge against bank failure, since they can’t be hijacked by a keystroke, they retain metal value, are hard to steal, and don’t burn up in a fire.
I imagine the “Supreme Court Balls Starter Kits” and the accompanying “Supreme Court Balls Designer Labels” will be worth a lot of money when people wise up to what the Supreme Court has done to individual property rights.
The metal spice container is now a salt shaker that allows me to add uncooked rice in the large middle opening and shake the salt out of the shaker opening. This is necessary in the humid South, because rice alone does not keep the shaker holes from getting clogged. For this, it is necessary to close the top.
The yogurt containers (or any dairy container, such as those for sour cream) are useful for cooked food or to freeze cooked food. They are also great for giveaway food. This maneuver serves the dual purpose of adding food value to used containers and getting rid of the packaging without having to throw it away. Note the mouse-damaged plastic top that prompted me to transfer chicken food from yogurt container to glass jar.
The home-made pesto is in a re-purposed cake icing container.
Old spice jars are also good for storing small items, like hooks and screws. Film containers (for those of us who still use film cameras) store things like razor blades and small screws.
Then there’s the grocery store produce bag, which can keep whole bowls of food fresh in the refrigerator. This one is protecting grated cheese.
Old shoe boxes make great storage containers for CDs and photographs. Any de-flapped box becomes a great, lightweight tool for organizing and storing clutter. I use them as trash cans, too.
Then, there’s the tool room, where old tin cans serve to organize my supplies of bolts, drill bits, and nuts. The plastic containers hold various screws, hooks, and assorted hardware, including replacement blades for the box cutter.
Chicken food, wild bird seed, and deer corn bags become trash bags. They are sturdy enough to hold sharp objects, like broken glass, without puncturing. Buckets like the one here that held joint compound are valuable enough by themselves to be sold at outlets like Home Depot.
Finally, the water-filled milk containers between the mint and stevia plants are an experiment. The idea is to keep plants cool on the hot deck and to have spare water if the pump breaks or the power goes out. I washed the jugs thoroughly and added 3 drops of chlorine bleach to the water, as we were taught to do during the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960s. The versatility of concrete blocks will be explored more thoroughly in a future blog about my inventions.