Last month I had the chance to spend a wonderful afternoon in San Francisco's mission district with a couple of old friends. At the end of the day we decided to pop into a funky restaurant and grab a round of cocktails because what did you expect, really? Made and served in the same vessel, our mojitos came prepared in reused jam jars...which I instantly decided was the coolest thing ever and have since added a couple to my meagre home collection of glass tumblers.

That said, this isn't the first cafe or restaurant I've been to that embraces the reuse principle. From old jars transformed into chunky utilitarian everyday items, cafes who use mismatched vintage crockery to serve food and drinks or restaurant tables made from reclaimed or repurposed items. In the cafe culture this relatively new trend of capitalising on quirk is seen as both cool and anti-corporate, as well as giving establishments an individual edge. Stripping away the veneer of the constant mass production, we soon realise that it is, in essence, no different to drink a glass of water out of an old jam jar than a $7 glass tumbler. In reality, if it's fit for purpose then everything else is just window dressing.

I'm a big fan of jars and at any one time I generally have a shelf stacked with them. I use them to store food and spices (many food items keep far longer in a glass jar in the fridge than in plastic, you can also freeze them if you're careful), as makeshift vases, as tumblers, to propagate plants, to store craft bits...In fact, where it's an option, I will often preferentially buy food items if they come in a nicely designed jar (are you listening, food manufacturers?)
But, while this kind of quirk might be cool in that funky cafe in London, in our own homes the 'Keeping up with the Joneses' mentality compels many of us to constantly buy new, matching and updated. So, the next time you're washing up a jar for the recycle bin, have a think about how you might reuse it instead.

Here's a link to cool stuff you can make from old jars

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