Recycling Glass Containers is a Good Thing

Recycling glass containers is good for the environment.

Did you know that glass is 100% recyclable and that recovered glass is used as the major ingredient in new glass containers? According to a 2005 study by the EPA, we recycle 25% of the glass we use.

Americans recycle nearly 13 million glass jars and bottles every day.

The typical glass processing facility can recycle up to 20 tons of glass per hour. The glass container industry has annual revenue of $5.5 billion spread across the US in 23 states, operates 55 plants employing 18,000 skilled workers

Glass containers produced today are 40% lighter that those produced 20 years ago.

Every ton of glass that is recycled results in 1 ton of raw materials saved to process new glass.

Glass containers come in four different colors, clear, blue, brown and green. When recycling glass, it must be separated by color to ensure the new glass is not created from a mix of colors. Glass containers are 46% clear, 23% brown and 13% green.

Most recycling glass programs will only accept glass containers, because glass products such as drinking glasses, light bulbs, mirrors and Pyrex is treated with containments during manufacturing.

A 2005 study by the beverage packing environmental council found that 18% of glass bottles are consumed at bars and restaurants, I wonder what percentage of that 18% are brown beer bottles and what percentage are green?

I could go on and on about glass recycling and how it is good for the environment and good for us, but the bottom line is how much will it inconvenience me and what is the cost?

Here in my local area, there were some large dumpsters separated into compartments for clear, brown, green and blue. There were also additional dumpsters for cardboard and plastic. Suddenly they were gone. Our local newspaper said the dumpster owners wanted a fee to place the containers in the stores parking lot and the store could not afford the extra charges. The store had the containers removed.

The convenience was wonderful as we could visit the dumpsters 24 hours a day. Now we must visit a county/city site that is only open on certain days of the week, their hours not ours and closed on cloudy days or when someone wanted to go fishing.

We also have a local business that will deliver some plastic bins for us to place our recycle material into. They pick up on a certain day of the week and the cost is $30 a month. In my neighborhood there are few users of this plan.

How can the recycling program be made more convenient and easier to use so that more people will participate? Without a better solution, this program will not grow. Our local government says it cost too much for them to participate as the fees will come from our taxes and they are stretched too thin already.

Does anyone have the solution? We are throwing away resources everyday and glass takes 400 years to be absorbed into the landfill.

Recycling is a good cause!

Dave Altman

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