Did you know that only 41% of South Africa's glass bottles and jars are being recycled, according to The Glass Recycling Co. I'm happy to be part of that stat (for once I'm in the good environmental books!). Every second week a company called EcoMonkey collects a big bin of recyclables – including glass – from my house, and I pay around R84 a month for this service.
It's an effortless way to do something meaningful for the environment, and I'm particularly happy to recycle glass – it always seems like such a waste to throw out jars and empty wine bottles when they can be recycled again and again, and never lose their clarity or purity.
I also think that if we want to raise decent human beings, who care about people and things around them, then it's important to start at home, literally, by setting a good example. My son learns a lot about recycling at school, and I don't want to be that parent who isn't supporting the good lessons he's picking up at school, nor supporting his own interests in recycling.
This month is glass recycling month, so The Glass Recycling Co is trying to get more people recycling, and I guess the starting points to this are "Why should we recycle?" and "How to actually do it – ie where to find a drop-off point or bank, and what's involved".
Let's start: the benefits of recycling glass
Recycling glass saves scarce landfill space
By recycling, you are preventing waste glass from filling up South Africa’s ‘dump sites’, tips and landfills.
Keeping South Africa clean
By recycling instead of littering, you are ensuring our natural environment is kept clean and beautiful.
Glass recycling saves energy
Recycling just one bottle saves enough energy to power a fluorescent light bulb for seven hours!
Recycling reduces our carbon footprint
Taking into account the transportation and processing, for every ton of glass made out of recycled glass, 670kg of CO2 emissions are saved. Recycling also reduces the need for raw materials to be quarried thus saving non-renewable, natural resources.
Recycling conserves our natural resources
For every ton of waste glass used to manufacture new glass, 1.2 tons of natural resources are saved.
Collecting glass for glass recycling can serve as a source of income
Unemployed people are able to earn a source of income by collecting and selling the glass to buy-back centres.
How to recycle
A glass bank is a very large container for collecting a community’s recyclable glass. This is used as a recycling point for members of the public to deposit waste glass to be recycled. The presence of a glass bank encourages local residents to engage in responsible recycling behaviour by separating waste and becoming involved in the collection of used glass.
To find a glass bank where you can drop of your recyclable glass in your community enter your location below or your city or province. To find a glass bank, click here
If you do not have a glass bank in your community you can request one here.
Images via The Glass Recycling Co