Recycled Jars or Pretty New Purchases: Would You Make the Switch?

Recycled Jars or Pretty New Purchases: Would You Make the Switch?

Elizabeth Licata
Mar 24, 2014

"Finally I am throwing out all that unmatched Tupperware!" a good friend recently exclaimed. Her home organization triumph left me baffled, though. Was it really OK to throw out perfectly good containers just because they didn't match? I envied her Pinterest-worthy kitchen storage, but when it came to my own space, I just couldn't bring myself to throw out perfectly good, mismatched containers.

My friend later shared pictures, and her neatly stacked towers of brand-new, identical Tupperware made her refrigerator look like something out of a catalog. Her spices, pulses, and gluten-free flours are all arranged in a collection of Ball jars purchased new from the internet. It's gorgeous. If my kitchen looked like that, I would share pictures of my crisper the way other people share baby pictures.

I was hugely tempted to follow suit, but I just couldn't bring myself to part with my own extensive collection of mismatched but functional jars and Tupperware containers. The old ones work perfectly, so the upgrade would be entirely aesthetic. The idea of tossing them and spending money on brand new ones just seemed silly. Then again, aesthetics are not nothing. If one is going to replace a perfectly functional object, beauty is a good reason to do so.

But I've been trying to generate less waste in my house, and functional little containers just seem to aggregate in my kitchen. With a steady influx of tea tins, mustard jars, jam jars, Nutella jars, and more, there's very little reason to go out and buy any sort of jar-shaped object. (I'm the only hipster I know who doesn't own a pretty collection of mason jars.) If I stopped collecting them and reusing them, they'd just become trash, and that would be a lot of trash.

Throwing all the old jars in the recycling bin and buying a few boxes of pretty matching ones from the home goods store would go a long way towards reducing the appearance of clutter in the kitchen cabinets. But it wouldn't actually make for fewer jars. Is aesthetic appeal a good enough reason to get rid of perfectly good kitchen containers?

What do you think makes the best kitchen storage: repurposed jars or pretty new purchases?

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