Make upcycled food labels for your plastic free and zero waste pantry

30 October 2014
Looking for a plastic free, zero waste and sustainable alternative to labeling the food in your kitchen? Look no further, I have you covered.

recycled food labels

When I started on shedding plastic from my life I naturally tackled my food cupboards first. That was where most of the unnecessary plastic packaging hid. I began storing my food in glass containers when I made the switch from pre-packaged food to bulk bought food. I mainly collected jars from Opportunity stores and kept some old food jars too. Many of these jars came without labels. While I knew the name of most items there have been instances where I went to pick up the polenta and instead grabbed the falafel mix. Plus I am not sure the Builder knows what beans are what…but that’s a different kettle of fish. These jars needed labels, stat.

I did not want to buy a marker for the purpose of labeling my glass jars. A marker would create so much unnecessary waste during its production and then sit in landfill for years after the ink had dried up. I thought about painting names on but I swap jars as they empty, and when I wash them the paint would no doubt come off.

So I created my own sustainable, reusable and compostable labels while upcycling old toilet rolls in the process. These can be taken off before washing and moved around different jars to your hearts content.

Scissors or a stanley knife
Toilet paper rolls
2 x Pencils

Flatten your toilet rolls and cut down the fold, then cut in half again, giving you four pieces.

Pick a side to write your label on, then flip over. Take two of your pencils and using one of the pencils top flat side trace a circle around the pencil onto the top edge of your label. You could use a pen or crayon or even a stainless steel or glass straw…because you live plastic free and have a these right?

After doing this, draw an X inside the circle. Take your scissors or stanley knife and cut the lines of the cross. This is where you will pull your twine through that will attach your label to your jar.

Flip your label over and write the name of your food onto the label. I just used a black pencil. You can use whatever you wish.

Cut your twine. I cut mine at 40cm.

Then fold in half and pinch at the place it is folded over. Now push 5cm of the looped twine through the hole. Take the other two ends through the loop and pull.

Marvel at what you have made.

recycled food labels

Tie your new label around your jar, put back into cupboard and never be confused again.

TIP: If you are using old jars that have old labels on them here is a trick to remove them easily. Soak in hot soapy water. Try and remove the label by peeling at the edges. If you have some left over residue from the labels use an oil like lavender, eucalyptus or tea tree oil on a cloth and rub over the residue to remove it.

The Builder thinks our pantry looks professional..whatever that means. What do you think? Are you a fan of the labels?
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