What do I do with screwtop jars?

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Annemieke
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What do I do with screwtop jars?

Post: #272265 Annemieke
Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:22 am

I always wash, dry and save my screwtop jars and every so often offer them on Freecycle. They've always gone, but now no one seems to be interested. I know it's the time of year, but the new law that you can't sell jam in recycled containers does not help AT ALL. IDIOTS. :angryfire:
The stock is building up though. Shall I put them in the recycling bin? What a waste of all that washing and drying. Or hang on a bit longer, till the soft fruit harvest begins?
Or has anyone got better suggestions?
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Re: What do I do with screwtop jars?

Post: #272266 Dr.Syn
Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:41 am

Lids are screwed to the underside of the shelves in my shed and then the jars hold nails, screws etc. the jar is then attached to it's lid. can't be knocked over, more space on top of shelves, easily see where things are, can see if I'm running out of anything.

Why can't the glass jar be reused for jam you can get new lids? or is this yet another H & S myth?
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Re: What do I do with screwtop jars?

Post: #272269 diggernotdreamer
Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:10 am

I don't think many people are bothered about the lids, you can easily buy them from kitchen shops or Ebay, I have passata jars I use every year and am going to get new lids for them. I think it is the time of year, wait until the blackcurrants are coming on and then you will probably find people coming out of the woodwork for them, it is easy to sit back at this time of the year without any forward thinking, then when the time comes and you are up to your neck in fruit, you are scrabbling round looking for enough jars (well I do anyway)

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Re: What do I do with screwtop jars?

Post: #272271 GeorgeSalt
Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:22 am

Annemieke wrote:I always wash, dry and save my screwtop jars and every so often offer them on Freecycle. They've always gone, but now no one seems to be interested. I know it's the time of year, but the new law that you can't sell jam in recycled containers does not help AT ALL. IDIOTS. :angryfire:


I thought we'd covered this before..

It's not illegal to reuse jam jars. And don't take this personally, but the only fools are those that accept blindly the myths that circulate about "new regulations" - there's no fool like a fool that wants to believe and doesn't want to do a quick Google to check.

If a story about a "new regulation" sounds stupid, it probably is. So check it.

Dear Sir

There have been recent reports in some of the local and national press, that the EU is about to ban the sale of homemade jam in recycled jars.

I would like to reassure readers that there is no EU legislation, new or old, that would prevent an individual volunteer for an organisation like the Women’s Institute from selling homemade preserves in recycled jam jars at their local village fete or church fair.

The false impression seems to have come about after the Church of England advised parishes that the sale of jam in re-used jars breached food hygiene regulations, citing guidance they had received from the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA). However, the FSA’s guidance is issued for ‘food business operators’ and the Agency has stated that someone making jam for an occasional event like a local fundraiser would be unlikely to be considered a ‘food business’ and therefore not affected by the regulations. This has been confirmed by the European Commission.

The European Commission has already issued a full rebuttal of the story but sadly, as is often the case, the euromyth seems to have spread much further than the truth. I would encourage readers to share this news with friends and family, it would be a terrible shame for people who enjoy selling their homemade preserves to help their local community to stop doing so due to a misunderstanding.

Yours faithfully

Glenis Willmott
Labour MEP for the East Midlands

Link


PS
I do take this sort of foolishness (propagating falsehoods) personally. I'm a H&S adviser and H&S gets the blame for a lot of things gthat a) don't exist, and b) aren't H&S, and c) are usually someone trying to hide something and thinking H&S is a convenient scapegoat because the public are idiots and will accept anything without question, on c) they're not far off the mark.
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Re: What do I do with screwtop jars?

Post: #272277 Skippy
Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:04 pm

I've not heard that one about jam jars but it's good to see it cleared up. George , if I'm reading that right it seems that commercial producers can't use recycled containers? If that is so how far do the rulings go, it is still legal and ok to use milk bottles again isn't it?
H&S aside from an envoiromental point of view it seems a bit daft to me not to reuse jars or other glass vessels.


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Re: What do I do with screwtop jars?

Post: #272280 GeorgeSalt
Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:25 pm

One problem with reuse of glass containers is that the containers themselves have been getting lighter and more fragile. There's a lot of weight in a glass container, so if you can reduce it the transport savings add up. Beer bottles are a classic example, where new eco bottles weigh less than half of the weight of a traditional beer bottle. This makes thes containers delicate and prone to damage during the collection (of empties), cleaning and refilling stages. Inspecting glass containers before re-use isn't easy on an industrial scale, and the the facilities for effectively cleaning jars for re-use is a "non-core activity" if you're a jam factory. Your packaging is part of your brand (think Bon Maman and you automatically picture the jar and lid) so re-use is also dependent upon getting your own jars back - sorting adds another step where breakage can occur.

Milke bottles were a special case where delivery and collection were both in the hands of the dairy.

If you're a small-scale commercial jam maker, it's probably not worth the hassle and cheaper to buy new jars using recycled glass. If I was selling jam, I'd probably reuse jars (if I could get enough of the right type, avoiding fragile lightweight jars) and buy new lids. Lids are always the weak point for hygiene.


I really doubt a drop in demand because householders are switching from reusing jam jars for regulation reasons (really, who in the UK would admit to following an EU regulation - that's as daft as believing it in the first place) - far more likely it's a combination of an awkward time of year sitting between marmalade and the first of the soft fruit, less people making jam, and a saturated market (once you've got a cupboard full of jars you only need to replace breakages).

I have switched from old jam jars to the chunkier swing-top style, but that's mostly for aesthetic reasons and partly because I'm using the freezer to hold fruit and only making small batches at a time.
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Re: What do I do with screwtop jars?

Post: #272281 Skippy
Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:06 pm

I think your response ties in quite neatly with some of your posts on my thread about garden waste collections. Consumption and waste seem to be on the increase and with economics being the only driving force then cutting down or recycling will always take a back seat. The recent horsemeat scandle has also shown that for economic reasons shipping meat all over europe is seen to make sense.
I always get the feeling that technological advances aren't always for the better and older and frankly more common sense methods and ideas are pushed aside (or is that the grumpy old cynic in me?) This scrapping of products , in this case glass jars just to melt them down to make into more , er , jars is really just a symptom of an economy based on cheap energy, a situation that doesn't look as if it's going to continue.
Oh and another thing . Modern beer bottles can be used for petrol bombs whereas the older thicker ones were no good. Did THEY think of the impilcations for civil unrest ? :lol:

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Re: What do I do with screwtop jars?

Post: #272293 GeorgeSalt
Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:39 pm

There is a problem with recycling at the moment on a national level (possibly EU wide - but I wouldn't put it past the UK to cock-up the system for themselves).

For administrative convenience (and perhaps lobbying by some parts of the industry) the recycling permit scheme for glass and plastic pay the same amount whether glass is crushed for aggregate (very cheap to do) or crushed for recycling into glass (expensive, and causes imbalances with green glass in the UK for example), with plastics those that sort and export (a cheap way of exporting the problem) or domestic reprocessors that remelt into pellets for recycling. This is rewarding the cheapest activity with the least social reward.

When you go to the bottle bank, if the one container accepts all colours of glass then it's highly unlikely your bottle will be recycled in the way that you think. It's most likely going to be crushed for construction aggregate.


Recycling is better where the state mandates it, eg. the German system for bottle recycling and reuse. It takes a national infrastructure to recycle bottles effectively, and the willing does not seem to be present in the UK populatopn (you and me). There's also a degree of localism in Germany that helps with recycling beer bottles - most people I know in Germany only drink beer from a local brewery. So the majority of bottles don't stray far, which helps with transport costs and helps the recovery rate.
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Re: What do I do with screwtop jars?

Post: #272303 Annemieke
Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:56 pm

My best taker used to be a lady who sold homemade jam in a stall at the seaside every year. She definitely is not allowed to use recycled jars anymore, and now has to buy them in at great expense.
I do know that they can still be used by the WI, and at church sales and the like. We did enquire about that straight away! However, the preserving ladies for our church do's have got plenty themselves.
As luck would have it, half an hour after I had emailed the above lament, a freecyclist came for the raspberry canes and I managed to persuade her to have them. Hurray! :iconbiggrin:
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Re: What do I do with screwtop jars?

Post: #272305 GeorgeSalt
Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:30 pm

Annemieke wrote:My best taker used to be a lady who sold homemade jam in a stall at the seaside every year. She definitely is not allowed to use recycled jars anymore, and now has to buy them in at great expense.


I did a bit more digging.. your lady with the jam stall should still be able to re-use clean jam jars that are in good condition. The EU responded to the story - link:

Recent media coverage on reusing jars for homemade jams for sale at charity events certainly fired up the imagination of the headline writers: “EU elf ‘n safety tsars ban jam sales at fetes” and “anger spreads over EU fines threat for reusing old jam jars”, “EU fine for homemade jam makers”. This is all completely untrue. There are no EU laws, new or old, which ban re-using old jam jars for fetes. The EU also has no powers to fine people.

There is indeed a body of EU food safety and hygiene legislation – notably so that the UK and other countries can be confident that food imported from or bought elsewhere in the EU is safe and of high quality. But these rules apply only to business operators and not to those preparing food for charity events such as church fetes or school bazaars.

What is more, the rules do not anyway ban re-using clean jam jars: the European Commission is not aware of any risk from chemicals related to this re-use.

The Daily Telegraph to its credit reported this properly on 7 October, saying that the Church of England had issued guidance and quoting the UK Food Safety Authority explaining that the interpretation of the regulations was the responsibility of local authorities, who would decide what constituted a “food business” and adding that “an occasional event, like a fund-raiser… would probably not be considered to be a food business.”

The Express then span this into a ridiculous story about “meddling Brussels bureaucrats”. The Mail did at least mention that the FSA had said enforcement was down to individual local authorities…but left this until paragraph 7 of a story misleadingly headlined “Anger spreads over EU fines threat for reusing old jam jars.” The Telegraph then had another piece – at least it was an intentionally funny one – blaming EU Directives after all.

While BBC Radio 4 You and Yours covered the story sensibly, BBC Breakfast ran an item that assumed wrongly that the EU has banned jam jars.

None of the media who produced these seriously misleading stories contacted the European Commission first.

More misleading grist to the EU-bashing mill……


So providing the lady includes in her HACCP* plan how she makes sure that the jars aren't damaged and are sterilised, there's no reason why she can't use them. The only possible objection could come from her local environmental health officer - but that's where a solid HACCP plan should swing her case.



*Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, a food safety risk assessment tool based on the old FMEA (Failure Mode Effect Analysis) tool used in engineering. It was developed by NASA when they realised that an astronaut with food poisoning wasn't a good idea. You draw a flow diagram of your process (recipe) and you decide what could go wrong at each point. For each risk you ask yourself the questions, "How likely is it to go wrong?", "How bad could it be?", "What are the chances that if it did goes wrong I'm not going to spot it at any later stage before it's sold to the consumer?". You the base your controls on this analysis. All quite sensible stuff, but some people do insist on making a pig's ear out of it just to be difficult to themselves.
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Re: What do I do with screwtop jars?

Post: #272321 the.fee.fairy
Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:42 am

If you're a knitter you can punch a hole in the top and put yarn in it to hold it while knitting/crocheting.


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