If you’ve ever wanted to reuse an old glass jar but the lingering smell made you throw it in the recycling instead, great news: There’s a hack that can completely remove that smell — and it couldn’t be simpler.
Digital creator and climate activist Emma (@thesimpleenvironmentalist) recently shared an Instagram story where she has an empty pickle jar that she wants to repurpose, but can’t because of the pickle smell. “I really, really want to reuse this jar but it smells so badly of pickles,” she says.
She leaves the jar out in the sun for 24 hours to test out a tip she read, in her words, “somewhere online.” Miraculously, after one full day, she does a sniff test and proclaims that the smell is completely gone.
“I can’t believe this worked,” she says.
How It’s Helping
This hack isn’t just for pickle jars — it can work on olive jars, jalapeno jars, or any other type of glass jars you can think of. And the more jars we can repurpose, the fewer that end up in landfills.
Even though glass is fully recyclable, whether or not it actually gets recycled is a different question. Americans throw away around 11 million tons of glass annually. Only 33% of that ends up getting recycled, due to deficiencies in the U.S. recycling system. (In some European countries with better systems, 90% of glass gets recycled.)
In addition, the more you repurpose old jars, the less Tupperware you’re going to need, cutting down on the need to purchase new plastics.
What Everyone’s Saying
The commenters on Emma’s Instagram post couldn’t wait to try the hack out for themselves. “Love a super easy eco hack,” says one.
“Gonna try this! Curry paste jars hold onto their smell too!” writes another commenter.
A third commenter chimes in with more tips for waste-conscious people looking to reuse old jars. “The glass is the easiest thing to clean,” they write. “It’s harder to get the pickle smell out of the lid. What I do is pack the lid with damp coffee grounds [and] leave it in a window sill for a couple of days. Then voila, smell is gone!”
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