Here, on the top shelf, I am storing my herbs (which I use in cooking, salad dressings and preserving) in empty mayonnaise jars.
I also use these jars to store...
|Cereals and sugar|
|Dried pasta and rice|
They are perfect as they do have an inner seal on the lid, so I don't have to worry about creepy crawlies gaining access. (Don't forget - a sprig of Bay Leaves in the jar prevents weevils.)
It's just a pity the jars are made of plastic - I reckon they could've made cool preserving jars!!
Now, I realise that not everyone has access to bulk containers, but have you considered your local restaurant? They probably throw away dozens of bulk containers a week, and would be grateful to someone / anyone who could assist them in disposing of their waste / relieve them of the added refuse collection - which the restaurant probably has to pay for - I know they charge restaurants per bin / weight in the UK. (And for my readers who frequent the "Grub Shack" I'm sure that Jerry and Eva must have more bulk containers than they know what to do with LOL).
These white containers with blue lids are from 125ml (4 fl.oz) and 250ml (8 - 9 fl.oz) cream. When they are new and full of cream they have a foil seal. Once that is removed, the (blue) lid fits, but not airtight. Thus, in my book, they make perfect storage containers for the (very dry) seeds obtained from plants in my vegetable patch which have gone to seed, or from vegetables / fruits which I purchase from the local greengrocer (such as paw-paws, watermelons, squash and pumpkins) as I am currently incapable of growing them (but which I hope to grow next season on the farm). I also add a sachet of silica gel to prevent a build up of moisture in them - the silica gel sachets we get from bottles of tablets / vitamins, and I certainly can't toss them into the rubbish bin either!
The tall glass bottles are from fruit liqueurs, and I'm still debating what to store in those - possibly flavoured vinegars.
The smaller jars (on the right of the picture) are for kitchen use of herbs and spices - when I need to make salad dressings, I pull out the big guns.
Factories are always going to produce some of their goods in bulk containers. If we can re-use these containers, we are, firstly, saving on the purchase of such containers for use in our homes / potting sheds / childrens playrooms / classrooms / garages, secondly, we are re-using something which is perfect as it is and does not need be recycled to produce (using unnecessary energy) something else, and finally, buying in bulk is cheaper - you're not having to pay extra to cover the cost of all the smaller containers.
This is a brilliant link detailing the storage life of most foodstuffs - it certainly simplifies my life :-)