Hey there, Mason jar fans!
Maggie and Mary here with a very special Earth Day blog post full of wit and actionable ideas! What more could you ask for!
Sometime in the very early 90s (I was in fifth grade), I was introduced to the concept of Earth Day. I don’t believe I had much considered our planet’s health prior to that; I lived in a microcosm which consisted of my family and friends in our relatively small town. At most, I thought beyond this bubble only during my family’s summer road trips – but, even then, my awareness of the world consisted of tourist attractions, shopping malls, hotels, roads, and landmarks. The Earth itself was just the thing that held it all. I imagine most of us can relate.
Though I had a globe in my bedroom, which enlightened me to all the rivers, lakes, oceans, islands, continents, mountains, valleys, and everything else, the idea that I was also looking at a representation of a beautifully, precariously balanced eco-system was totally foreign.
So there I was, an 11-year-old who, all at once, realized that our Earth is, itself, this wonderful, dynamic, fragile thing for which we must care. Suddenly, I insisted on all recycled notebooks. I lowered the thermostat in our house, collected aluminum cans to bring to our local recycling center, and began riding my bike or walking as much as possible (when the North Dakota weather allowed for it).
My class performed an Earth Day musical that consisted of various skit-like educational segments. I was thrilled to get the lead role of “Sherrie” in one of the numbers; I mean, there I was, on stage, belting out a tune that I was sure would inspire all the parents and siblings in the audience to ditch those awful aerosol spray cans! Do it for the ozone, people!
When we’re young, we truly believe we can change the world. As we get older, we necessarily realize that most tasks are much more complicated than we once understood. As an adult, I’m aware that my refusing a single straw at a restaurant is not going to “save the planet.” Wrapping my leftovers in a napkin or loading them into a Mason jar rather than taking a to-go box won’t significantly reduce the hole in our ozone. Really, nothing any one of us does is enough to make a dent; what matters is collective action.
Like with many things, where you make the real difference is by setting an example for those around you. When you refuse a straw or a to-go box enough times at a restaurant, the restaurant starts to notice. Maybe, for them, it means implementing a policy where they offer straws only upon request or replace styrofoam containers with compostable paper ones.
As parents, we also feel it’s important to role model this environmentally conscious mindset to our kids who are the future CEOs, politicians, scientists, and leaders of this beautiful blue marble. When we teach children the importance of taking care of the Earth, then the impact ripples out.
And, if you have a platform (such as a blog for Mason jar lovers), use it! If everyone who reads this implements some of the ideas outlined below, setting an example for their friends, who set an example for their friends, who set an example for their friends (and on and on and on), imagine the difference we might make!
I keep seeing this quote: “‘What’s one straw?’ said eight billion people.” As much as your individual positive efforts may feel insignificant, remember that the mentality that no one thing held much significance is exactly what led to so many negative things adding up to get us to the difficult place we are now.
It wasn’t until the 1950s that anti-littering campaigns began. Before that, it was no big deal to throw your trash on the ground. I’m sure it took time for people to get on board with the inconvenience of having to walk to a trash can every time they had something to dispose of, but now, 60+ years later, you would almost never see someone casually throwing their trash on the ground. People generally understand not to do this; the social pressure against it is enormous.
According to CostalCare.org, “every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans.” So, for as helpful as anti-littering campaigns have been in terms of eliminating unsightly litter in our communities, it’s time we look at the Earth as a whole. We evolve for our times and current realities, and now is the time to make the idea of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” as everyday as the anti-littering notion.
Of course, owning this business, most of my ideas involve Mason jars, and, specifically, the concepts of “reducing” and “reusing.” A fair number of the Mason jars we own came from estate sales and thrift shops. One of the marvelous things about Mason jars is that, unless you drop and break them, they pretty much last forever. And, if you do break one from time to time (as I have), they’re glass and can be easily recycled. Some of my jars are 50+ years old, and I love to imagine all the things they’ve been used for over that time.
So, that’s my story. I’m sure you all have your own. While we all come from different places, with our own unique experiences, we all call Earth our home. How we treat our planet now will have lasting effects, for us and every generation that comes after. I know it can feel overwhelming – where does one even start? The key is that you start at all. If you’re still reading this, you’ve “started.” Thank you.
Below, you’ll find a thorough list that our incredible employee (and one of the biggest friends to our Earth I’ve ever met), Mary, compiled. All involve ways you can use Mason jars to “reduce” and “reuse.” Some of them involve products we sell, but, if you want to stick with things you already own, you can implement many of the ideas with the simple Mason jars and lids you likely already have in your cabinets.
Thanks for reading, and, more importantly, thanks for caring!
Mason Jar Lifestyle Owner & Chief Mason Jar Geek
Welcome to the Use This – Not That portion of the blog!
If you’re ready for action items to wrap your a-Mason mind around — here we go!
Mason Jars – the *new* reusable shopping bag!
When reusable shopping bags first became a thing I heard all the time, “But I never remember to bring one with me…” To me this rational held no weight and I’d counter with, “Then just keep them in the car all the time.” It’s that simple – right?!
You take your bag into a store, use the bag, empty it at home, then put back in your car so it’s there for the next time — DONE! Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Don’t want the glass to clink around your trunk? Then wrap your jars in your reusable bags or invest in a few silicone sleeves to protect your glass. It’s just that easy (and stylish).
Here are our Use This – Not That ideas:
- Heading out to dinner? Instead of putting your restaurant leftovers in a one-time use container, bring in a Mason jar with a storage lid. As a bonus you can reheat in your Mason jar without leaking toxic chemicals into your Pad Thai.
- Stopping for ice cream afterwards? Of course you are. Bring in your wide mouth pint and get a pint to go and skip the paper container.
- Heading to the refill store or bulk section of your favorite grocery shop? We wrote a blog post about that! Check it out.
In a nutshell: bring a variety of jars with you, get them pre-weighed, fill with goodies, keep your staples fresh in your pantry with a storage or pour lid, and reuse next time.Bonus: Mason jars are so much cuter than mismatched boxes or plastic bags, keep food fresher, and are easier to organize. See below how Nikki, our amazing customer service guru, uses decorative lids with silicone liners in her kitchen!
- Packing your lunch? Skip the plastic container and put your leftovers from dinner in a jar to take to work with you (we do this all the time) and reheat right in the jar. Our silicone sleeves are microwave safe too.
- Taking food to a friend? Whether someone you love just had a baby, is under the weather, or you just want to share something delish – Mason jars are your perfect leftover container. Plus Mason jars are very affordable! You can even find them at yard sales and your favorite thrift store for super cheap so it’s ok if your container doesn’t get returned.
- Like snacks and saving money? When you hit up your favorite warehouse store, get the BIG bag of crackers, cookies, etc. instead of the individual portions. Divide the food up into jars when you get home (we like 4 oz jelly jars with silicone sleeves for kids portions) and keep them airtight with storage lids. You’re saving natural resources by skipping all the extra packaging and keeping your food fresher longer than storing in a plastic bag.
- Need a pick me up from the coffee shop? Skip the disposable cup, lid, and straw for a reusable Mason jar with a straw and lid (we have hot beverage lids too!). Need help picking out the perfect straw? We wrote a blog post on that too — HERE!
If you’re getting a tall, then use a 12 oz, regular mouth jelly jar.
A grande more your speed? Well that’s 16 oz and could fit in either a regular or wide mouth pint.
Or if you’re like me and it’s a venti or bust then grab a pint and a half, wide mouth Mason jar to hold 24 oz of caffeinated goodness.
- Love those bottles of cold brew coffee from the store? Skip the plastic bottle and lid and invest in a reusable cold brew system. You’ll save money, add coffee grounds to your compost (hello, nitrogen!), and give Mother Earth a big old hug! And making cold brew at home is easier than you might think – check out our directions.
- Giving flowers? Don’t buy a new vase at the florist shop, grab a Mason jar from your collection and pair with a frog lid for a perfectly arranged bouquet. If it’s a gift, then tie a ribbon with a tag on it. Now don’t you look thoughtful!
- Love those flavored waters? I get it! I love water but sometimes I want a little something different. Instead of buying flavored waters or canned beverages, try infusing your own water with whatever flavor combinations you can dream up. Maybe you’ll fall in love with cucumber mint, or watermelon basil, or strawberry lemon – the sky’s the limit! Check out our stainless steel infuser and our tea infuser.
- Need a Straw? Bring a Straw! We’ve focused mainly on Mason jars in this post but we can’t miss an opportunity to remind you that reusable straws are just as easy to have on hand in your purse, car, or laptop bag.We also sell straws in their own little bags to make it even easier. Don’t go without – just make a better choice!
This Earth Day we want to emphasize “reuse” with the help of your Mason jars and “reduce” the amount of single use items we’re offered every day. It’s may seem like small changes, but as they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Love and BIG Earth Hugs,