This month is glass recycling month and last week I wrote here about how easy it is to recycle, and how I've been recycling for the last few years with EcoMonkey.
While I spoke about recycling, ie returning glass and jars to the manufacturers via recycling centres, there's another kind of "recycling", and that's returning glass to a supermarket, liquor outlet or retailer once empty, for a refund. They will return the glass to the relevant manufacturers for re-use/recycling.
Another form of recycling is re-using, rather than tossing out. A glass bottle can be used again to hold another liquid or be used as something new – for example a glass bottle can be reused as a vase. I use old pickle jars for collecting coins, as sweet jars, and for odds and ends that don't really go anywhere else, like birthday candles and matches.
If you're unsure about why glass should be held onto and not tossed, here are some great reasons:
Made from natural substances, glass packaging is completely odourless and impermeable, ensuring that food and beverages remain as intended. Since its non-porous, glass baby food containers won’t absorb baby food odours or smells of previous food, or get stains. With glass, you reduceyour baby’s exposure to BPA, phthalates and other toxic chemicals.
It has a better flavour
Ever notice how things taste better from glass (I still remember the best milk ever tasted being delivered in glass milk bottles)? Ever think that the soup from your plastic container tastes a bit like last week’s leftover pasta? With glass, food tastes fresher and cleaner, and even though your toddler might not notice, it’s healthier to have purer flavours, and it might enhance their eating experience.
Glass can be reused again and again and washing up is faster and cleaner—you can safely pop glass into your dishwasher and cleanse at high temperatures. With glass, you can also store and serve up toddler food.
It's beautifully transparent
See your food clearly, and find it easily. Labels stick well and peel off well, as does washi tape for labelling.
Glass might seem more expensive than plastic containers, but think of it like this: glass can be a one-time investment, while other containers needs to be replaced often.
And if you're wondering why glass is worth recycling and not tossing, and why it's considered such a valuable recyclable, here are some reasons, via The Glass Recycling Company:
Glass is natural
Glass is created by melting minerals together at high temperatures. Silica, a form of sand, is the main ingredient and is combined with soda ash and limestone melted in a furnace at high temperatures. Other materials and minerals can be added to produce different colours.
Glass can be made by nature
When lightning strikes silica sand, glass can be formed by the high temperature. These glass tube or ‘fulgurites’ are formed when lightning with a temperature of at least 1,800 °C melts the silica and fuses the grains of sand together; this only takes about a second!
Glass has been made for over 5 000 years
From our earliest origins, man has been making glass. Archaeologists have found evidence of man-made glass dating back to 4,000BC in the form of coatings on stone beads. Around 1,500 BC the Egyptians made the ﬁrst glass bottles in a state we would recognise today.
Glass packaging is pure
Glass containers are impermeable, air-tight, and transparent. You can see the freshness of food and beverages. Glass packaging can handle vacuum or high-pressure sealing, safeguarding against moisture and oxygen. This protects food and beverages from spoilage and bacteria.
Glass containers are lighter than ever
Today’s glass containers are more than 40% lighter than they were 20 years ago. Light weighting efforts continue throughout the industry.
Glass recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions
Recycling reduces the release of CO2 into the atmosphere, helping to minimise climate change. Every ton of new bottles and jars made using recycled glass rather than raw materials prevents the emission of 670 kg of CO2.