daily life, economics, frugal living

The Life of a Peanut Butter Jar

Are you obsessively frugal.? Do you just throw something away for the sake of getting rid of it? Do you put much thought into how many things we add to our landfills each and every day? Do you actually enjoy seeing how far a thing can be used over again, after it’s original purpose has ended?

One family member was getting ready to throw away the peanut butter jar after making a sandwich. I offered to toss it in the trash for them. Me, never being able to actually just throw something away, without inspection, I peeked inside the jar. By my estimation, two more sandwiches could be made with the peanut butter left inside this jar! What?

Disappointed to think so much would be wasted I hid the jar deeply in the kitchen cabinet. I would find it still hidden next week, when I came again to babysit. I am lucky to have grandchildren and even more fortunate to have an opportunity to save this family from the errors of their wasteful ways. Just kidding. They don’t listen anyway….I have tried. Not to be a nag anymore, I don’t bother.

I can’t remember ever being wasteful but that does not make me better than anyone. Just more resourceful. My ancestors must have been scavengers. Mom says we have a small amount of American Indian in us on my grandfathers side. I never checked but no doubt. They did not waste anything from their hunts or otherwise. They made good use of the resources they had around them.

[Quote] Lost Ways Found by Rich M – 8 Overlooked Survival Skills…

“When American Indians killed an animal, they used every bit of it they could. They were not wasteful. You never saw an Indian village with a garbage dump beside it. Everything had its use and the Indians were amazingly clever in finding those uses. Even internal organs from the animals could be used, making containers out of them to carry water or to store medical herbs.

The Indians also understood that what they had today may not be there tomorrow. When they had food to eat, they ate well, banking up extra for the time when they would not have food. Winters were hard on them, but they made do mostly by preserving food in the summer and fall.

We see this in the westward expansion as well. The early pioneers didn’t throw anything away. They made an old shirt into a rag. A burlap sack became a towel. People brought their baskets to the General Store to go shopping and they used everything they had. The waste in our modern society, especially the ideas of disposable items and planned obsolescence, simply add to our ultimate downfall.”

It would be interesting to see how long a jar of peanut butter would last. I know I will get two more sanwiches out of the jar. Spatullas were made for a reason. They work slick on cleaning out a jar.

Are you worried about your grocery bills? Many of what we throw away can go further.
I have retrieved so many next to new items thrown into trash bins. I am not a dumpster diver and not picking on just this one family. I see waste everywhere. I just happen to be in a home regularly where I babysit, and have opportunity to save some things or take advantage to repurpose the things I find.

I have found t-shirts, socks, gallon sized zip loc bags, gift bags, glassware, candles, unused envelopes, printing paper, writing tablets, stationery, bows and ribbons, shoes, toys and more just thrown away with little regard. I turn all these things into reusable items.

I am not going for sainthood, or consider myself a do-gooder. It is just in my nature to not be wasteful. Compare my obsessiveness, just like a singer who hears songs in their head, an artist who enjoys experimenting with colors, a child who loves to run or a mechanic who enjoys taking things apart only to put them back together again.

I will use the jar again and again even after the peanut butter is gone. It may hold toys or buttons or pennies. I can catch a bug in it, store rice, use it as a pen holder. I can use it to collect rocks, raspberries, worms for fishing. Several jars filled with sand can become stands for a homemade bookshelf if I wanted.

Maybe we should go back to selling food items in bags instead of plastic containers. I understand the amazing properties of plastic. It keeps things fresher, bug free and dry. We just need to find ways to repurpose and reuse the plastic going into our landfills better.

We need to find ways to reuse peanut butter jars in our pantries or for the very least we do, make sure a jar is scraped clean and washed out thoroughly, and placed in our recycling bin. I don’t even see this happening at some households I visit. Plastic is mixed in with regular trash. What? Yes!

Do we need to re-educate our children about wastefulness or are people just living in too much abundance? I think at least for America, we are definitely a spoiled generation and have been for years.

We need to ask ourselves before casually tossing something out, if it is really trash. Is it something someone else might use or want? Can we reuse it for another purpose? Can we donate it, sell it, create something with it? Do I know someone who could properly dispose of it? Do I know someone who might tinker with it or fix it for the fun of it?

I once got rid of a CD player or boombox that an electronic wanted to just tinker with. I have left things at the side of my road for others to have for free. I have posted things on social media for sale.

I have the name of a scrapper and his son in my phone. I call them if a neighbor has metal they need to dispose of. My neighbors removed some metal landscape edging. It was just piled up in their driveway as the project was underway. I gave them the name of my guy and it was gone the same day. Nice! Properly disposed of and it didn’t cost anyone a dime and the scrappers made some money too from the recycling company.

I understand that not everyone has a mind like mine or want to take the time when they are ready to throw something out. It only takes a little consideration and effort. But, at the very least, put it into your recycling bin, if your state has a program.

Not all cities and towns recycle. Not all families do. Being from Minnesota, we do very well with our recycle programs. Still, I see my own family being lackadaisical about it at times.
I am not critical of them as I used to be, unless they are at our house. I can only press my views, my way of life, my habits and my faith on my family when they are in my home.

I do try to teach some in our family that don’t recycle, but have learned they really aren’t ready to learn, at least not fro me. They may have to learn from the school of hard knocks. Things must be pretty darn good in their lives. I am happy none of them are homeless or destitute or struggling.

Hopefully our future generations will do a good job of preserving our land, respecting our resources and appreciating what they do have. Am I seeing the glass half empty?

Two big containers of chicken salad with dressing, tomatoes and olives were dinner one evening. After my kids had their fill, they tossed the plastic take out containers into the trash. The trash bin, not recycle bin and did not get rinsed off either. Ooops! I thought with tongue in cheek. I retrieved the two containers without a word.

These will go into my tote bag so they could get reused at our house. Sometimes these things seem to make their way back again to the original household they came from. You may find them on the childrens drawing table filled with paint jars or markers or playdough supplies.

New plastic trash is a treasure to me but more the fact I know these take a long time if ever to break down. I can always see another way to use some thing. Is that being cheap of part of being…just frugal?

It does save me buying storage containers and bags. I find these being thrown away after one use too. Zip bags are nice to wrap meat from the store into. Keeps from freezer burn being double wrapped.

I could go on but I am getting off topic. I’m suppose to be talking about the life of a peanut butter jar. You can pour stale beer in the lids and stick them under plants to catch grubs. There is a life to a lid as well.

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