by Mia Hanneken, Education Coordinator
I have been living my bulk aisle dreams this past month! An enormous “thank you” to everyone who has donated their jars to the co-op. Little by little, we are bringing awareness to single use plastic and offering sustainable options. I encourage everyone to continue donating their empty jars and skipping the unnecessary bags when shopping in bulk (and produce, for that matter).
To give you all a little insight into how this jar donation works: I personally collect the donations from Front of House, remove labels, wash them, run them through the sanitizer, wait for them to dry, find the corresponding lid (a real process, I assure you), and put them in the black tiered basket by the bulk aisle. It’s simple, for sure, but it is time consuming. More time consuming than I anticipated when I initiated this project. I could easily spend upward of 10 hours a week on this one single aspect of my job.
The most painstaking part of this project is something you all can help me with--removing labels. Per the health department, we have to remove them, and even if the health department didn’t require it, we would probably still do it to avoid completely messing up the dishwasher/sanitizer. So if you’re looking to be a super co-operator, you can remove some of your jar labels prior to donation following these methods:
1. Soak the jar in white vinegar for close to an hour. Some labels come off quickly and easily; others require longer soaking. White vinegar has been a great way to easily remove labels without a ton of scraping.
2. Heat a large pot of water to a near boil. Carefully drop jars in the water for several minutes. This is definitely a quicker method, but I’ve found certain types of labels don’t remove as seamlessly. Be sure to wear an oven mitt when handling jars.
3. For that stubborn glue that won’t unstick, try Goo Gone. I don’t use it for the entire label, but it really comes in handy for spot cleaning.
I absolutely love that the co-op can offer free containers for people to use instead of the disposable bags. It saves money and resources--plus keeps your cabinets more organized. However, since I handle the project mostly on my own, I need a little support. If all my beloved jar donors could try removing some labels before handing them over to me, I am confident our jar donations and jar adoption stations will remain open and well stocked for years to come.