A good, old-fashioned way of reusing glass bottles from a variety of beverages is to wash them and reuse them as bottles to store water in the fridge.


As a child, I remember my mom cleaning glass bottles (usually from juice, whiskey or brandy). Back then, we didn’t have any of these fancy plastic or glass water bottles that you can buy in the shops nowadays so we always reused glass water bottles.


Glass bottles can be cleaned and sterilised with very little effort. If you think the label would be difficult to scrub off, or the smell of the beverage that was initially bottled in it would linger on, just follow these 5 simple steps and you’ll see how easy it is to remove the label and have the bottle clean and ready to be reused.


Step 1

Submerge the bottle in a clean bucket filled with cold water and leave it to sit there for a few days. I usually leave the bottle to sit there for an entire week.


Step 2

Remove the bottle from the bucket of water and scrub the label using either a scourer or your ordinary dish washing sponge.


Glass water bottle


Step 3

Wash the inside of the bottle with water and a small amount of dishwashing liquid. You might need to use a bottlebrush, if you have one.


Glass water bottle


Step 4

Finally, wash the bottle in the dishwasher. Place the bottle sideways at a 45 degree angle on the top rack. Regardless of the size of the bottleneck, it will wash and sterilise thoroughly. Place the aluminium lid to wash as well at the bottom of the cutlery holder.


Step 5

Allow the bottle to cool completely before filling it up with water and placing it in the fridge.


The good thing about reusing glass bottles to store your drinking water in the fridge is that you don’t actually have to spend any money buying water bottles, or even an expensive water cooler for your home. The glass water bottles will come with the drink you purchased or possibly received as a gift.


Also, keeping your water in glass bottles in the fridge makes the water chill really, really well, for some reason. It’s easy to keep the bottles and the lid clean by washing the bottle and the lid in the dishwasher periodically. We usually wash our glass water bottles every 2-4 weeks, depending on how often the particular bottle actually gets used.


The only downside to reusing glass bottles to store water in the fridge is that the bottles, sadly, do break from time to time. Other than that, they will last you a very long time. Carrying water in these bottles while you’re out and about is also not practical. I do, however, have several small (450ml) glass bottles which I’ve reused from ice teas and I use those to carry water or fill them up with juice if I want to take a bottle or two to work or while we’re travelling.


If you’re not particularly keen on reusing glass bottles for water, you might want to consider recycling whatever bottles or jars you might have. Why not find a ‘glass bank’ near you? Search for a ‘glass bank’ in your area here. This is a community recycling initiative by The Glass Recycling Co. in South Africa. Remember that for every glass you recycle, less energy is going to be used to make a new glass bottle from scratch.


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