Thursday, June 16, 2011

Living sustainably on a budget: glasses

For the next school year I will be living in University owned condos. This is a first for SCU, and the new student housing will be finished with construction in August. Needless to say I am excited to move in. 

However, for the first time I will have a kitchen. Because I am the one the most interested in cooking/baking, and I want to be able to start building a sustainable kitchen that will last me well into my future, I have taken over the responsibility of our entire kitchen. This means I am in charge of all cooking utensils, plates, forks, drying racks, dish towels, ect. The list feels endless.

What is most important to me is that I buy items that will last me years after I graduate. I want the shopping I do now to not just be on plastic junk that I will throw out when I graduate. This poses a bit of a challenge, however, because I am trying to buy quality items that will last. There are some costs that are unavoidable (my amazing mixer that will last me more than 20 years (based on how long my parents has lasted, and I have the updated model of theirs : ) ). And yet there are also some items that extremely cheap can also be sustainable and beautiful.

I have been thinking about what to do about drinking glasses for a few weeks now. My main concerns were durability, quality, quantity, and of course, price. My roommates and I are not the kind of college students that will be throwing major ragers in our condo next year (many of us do not even drink), but I am expecting us to accidentally knock things over and drop things. I am a complete klutz on my own, so adding in the fact that there will be six of us living in a relatively small space, I am expecting us to break some things. 

My solution to all of my concerns: canning jars. They are durable, super duper cheap- each jar is about $1. For 12 "glasses" I paid a little over $12. This is perfect because if we ever have guests over, we can easily feed everyone without having to use plastic or throw away. They are easily replaceable, washable, and easy to drink out of. If we break them we can cheaply and easily replace them. They are also beautiful and add a little personality to our kitchen. 

Another bonus is their potential for sustainability. After I graduate if I no longer want to use them as drinking glasses I can use them for canning, vases, food storage, and many other things. 

These are cheap, easy, readily available, and a perfect solution for anyone who is trying to supply a kitchen on a budget. You can find them at any grocery store as well as large chains that try to sell a bit of everything (I hate giving any suggestions to go to these places, but for clarity I mean places like Target. I just try to encourage people to support their local business owners before huge chains with questionable ethics and environmental standards... thats a whole other story...). In the next few weeks I will be off to some used stores to see what other quality items I can score for our kitchen. Check back soon. 

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