What’s that classic, versatile and sustainable container we all know and love? You guessed it. It’s you friendly neighborhood mason jar. From trying out craft projects you find on Pinterest to storing your overnight oats, mason jars are a go-to. Aesthetic value aside, glass containers are a great substitute for food storage. For generations we’ve become accustomed to using plastic tupperware and plastic bags to store our food in the fridge, or buying grocery items that come pre-packed, eliminating the need for an alternative altogether. According to an article by Popular Science, plastic food storage has been proven to emit harmful toxins into the food you are preserving, which can limit the food’s longevity, and in extreme cases, has been linked to cancer. Switching to glass containers is is better for your health, and it is also more environmentally friendly.

Unlike plastic containers, glass reduces the amount of trash that goes into landfills, emits less greenhouse gases and generally encourages a more sustainable lifestyle.

According to Copywriters Kitchen, nearly 80 percent of glass can be recycled, which uses nearly half as much energy as manufacturing brand-new glass. Also, glass does not emit toxins during the recycling process, so the quality is never compromised, nor does it emit these toxins into the atmosphere.

When you buy a pack of mason jars, (which I hope you will do after reading this article), you invest in a lifetime of money saving at the grocery store. Stores like Cash Wise and Whole Foods have a section where you can buy food in bulk, so just bring your mason jars into the store and fill them up as you please. This eliminates both plastic packaging and the use of plastic grocery bags altogether. Buying things like rice, trail mix, and dried fruit in bulk saves you money, too! What’s not to love?

Food storage aside, you can replace any plastic cups in your cabinets with mason jars. Plastic cups, like plastic tupperware, emit toxins directly into your water. Even things like plastic water bottles can be harmful. A lot of companies have begun to make their water bottles BPA free, but even with this improvement there are still negative side effects for your health. Glass water bottles do not pose a risk to your health and are able to preserve water quality for a much longer time. Making the switch to a glass water bottle can seem a little daunting, especially for us clumsy folk, but the positive benefits outweigh the negatives for both your health and the environment.

If you want to experiment even more with the many purposes of mason jars, grab some seeds of your favorite herbs and make them into on-the-go, organic planters. A tutorial of how to do this can be found through Facebook by searching Goodful. There, they offer several videos regarding personal health and wellness. As a college student, this would save you even more money, because herbs like cilantro and oregano can be pretty spendy. Even if you aren’t a fan of herbs and spices, you can use mason jars as a planter for many types of plants, or simply as a flower vase.

Mason jars are arguably one of the best investments you could make, so I implore you all to discover the many benefits they can have in your daily life. I know that plastic is more convenient for a variety of reasons, but as a society we must begin to take responsibility for our choices and strive for a more eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle. Plus, mason jars are becoming more and more #artsy, so why not keep up with the trends? With that, I hope you enjoy the many wonders of the beloved mason jar. Happy sustainable living, Cobbers.

Mariah Norell

Mariah is a junior double majoring in Music and Global Studies, with a concentration in development studies. She enjoys singing in the Concordia Choir, being involved in the theatre department, traveling, and spending time in nature. This is her second semester on the Concordian staff.

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