Today as I was diligently forcing myself to responsibly store my co-op bulk hoard, I realized that I was pouring my rolled oats into an un-returned Saint Benoît Yogurt mason jar. Usually I bring those back for the deposit refund to keep the price of my expensive yogurt habit down. Should I desist and reclaim that expenditure that was meant to be temporary, or pay a slight premium for the convenience of at-home reuse? I decided to keep it, as the cooking urges I’ve been nurturing can always use more cupboard stock, for which that will serve as another incentive.
I’ve had to give a nod to the argument that plastic containers are often just as reusable as glass and that they require a lot less energy to transport. Thing is, they’re usually comparatively ugly - just can’t compete with classy glass which also has the advantage of enabling quick identification, and the kind of commodity I would like to see less of. In a local scale situation such as this, I think that a material’s weight factors less into its environmental impact. It’s certainly a more expensive product for a niche market, but at least the extra money spent supports local economy, perhaps instead of larger more distant businesses represented on the shelves.
Sometimes my mind wanders off to the morbid fantasy of my belongings in an estate sale (though the less-morbid moving sale is just as applicable). What would be junk, and what would be useful and enduring? I don’t know about you, but I would totally buy a deceased person’s mason jars. Though I would vote for the responsible downcycling of plastic in any situation, in my book it is best avoided whenever practical.
I think that Saint Benoît’s partnership with Kerr mason jars is brilliant because they are providing two premium products - one local and healthful, and one classic and useful. If the jars are returned they will be reused, with the processing built into the price. If they are kept the customer pays a little extra (and doesn’t need to make any additional effort to do so) for the convenience of keeping the secondary product in his or her kitchen. In the end, everyone gets what they want.
Perhaps one of these days I’ll be inspired to make my own mason jar yogurt. Until then I’ll claim the excuse that I’m waiting until my collection of various jars is complete.