Can Mason Jars Be Recycled or Reused?

By: Berlin Packaging Specialist
Date: January 26, 2020

Yes mason jars can be recycled, but there are a few things to consider.

Most curbside recycling programs in the United States accept clear glass, making it simple and easy to recycle mason jars by simply putting them right into the appropriately labeled bin. While the lids themselves may not be easy to recycle, glass mason jars themselves can be recycled almost anywhere. They're also reusable, which is one of the reasons their popularity continues to this day. Customers often prefer purchasing goods packaged mason jars due to their practicality. Once consumers have washed and cleaned the jars properly, they can use them to store food leftovers, household items, and even personal care products like scented bath salts.

Older Jars

Old mason jars can still be used depending on their condition. They need to be free from cracks and chips in order to be sealed properly. Old mason jars often had a coating applied to them which helped to prevent them from becoming scratched. However, when scratched or scuffed, this can cause the glass to become weak so they won't be able to be used with a pressure canner. These jars can still be used decoratively and possibly to store dry goods. Should the mason jars be in good condition but the lids are warped or broken, new lids can be purchased. If it's simply that the seal is damaged, replacement seals can be purchased. Very old jars, referred to as antique or vintage jars, are best used for decorative purposes only or to package dry goods. The vintage jars that are made from colored glass and/or have bubbles within the glass shouldn't be used for canning purposes or to store wet foods.

Restaurant Uses

Restaurants and cafes frequently use old mason jars for several purposes, including lighting and food presentation. Pair jars with solar lights to make environmentally-friendly outdoor table lighting for cafes and restaurants. Create centerpieces by filling mason jars with sand and tea lights. Bars and cafes going for a relaxed, country feel use old mason jars to store packaged contents like sugar packets. Selections with handles work well for this type of drink service in restaurants. Barbecue establishments and places where people frequently eat with their hands often fill old mason jars with napkins and cutlery to make table settings.


Metal snap lids, in particular, are not reusable lids for mason jars. Using them more than once runs a number of risks to the product quality. The snap lids have a rubber sealing compound on the underside. During the sealing process, this compound expands to form a tight seal. Once this is done, it will never make a proper seal again, risking the quality of the product inside. The screw bands can rust and warp over time, making it safer to avoid reusing them. Any dents or warps can prevent them from sealing properly as well, making them ideal for one-time use. Bands, however, can be used repeatedly as long as they are in good condition and free of rust.

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