I Recycle Plastic, Isn’t That Enough?
Plastic often takes the forefront of the recycling discussion; it is overproduced and overused, and has become well known for its toxic properties. Growing masses of people have taken steps to recycle, reuse, and, above all, avoid single use plastics all together. While recycling (and avoiding) plastic remains incredibly important, another way to make an environmental difference is by recycling glass. Glass is 100% recyclable, and can be recycled repeatedly with no loss to its quality, making the process incredibly easy and infinitely useful, with no complicated rules as to what specific materials are or are not to be recycled.
Glass products can be found just about anywhere, from the bottles of wine in our fridge to the screens on our computers. Made from renewable resources, glass is known to be a safer material to store food and drink, and is altogether easier on our environment than plastic. For these reasons, it is often used as an alternative for single-use plastics, in products like reusable water bottles, drinking straws, and food storage containers. With all this in mind, it is easy to toss your glass into your landfill bin, give yourself a pat on the back for doing the world a small justice, and be done with it. And, while this pat on the back is certainly due, you can easily earn a second by recycling that old beer bottle instead.
If glass is already eco-friendly, why should I go through the hassle of recycling it?
The answer to this question is pretty simple: the production of glass has harmful environmental side effects that can be easily minimized through recycling. Glass is manufactured by heating a material called silica sand to extremely high temperatures, a process that requires loads of energy and results in both air and liquid pollution. According to the World Wildlife Fund, it takes more heat and energy to create glass products from scratch than it does to melt down already formed, recycled glass (Recycling Glass- How it Helps Environment). Further, the production process for recycled glass yields 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than starting from scratch (ibid.). With 100%, limitless recyclability, recycling your old glass can circumvent all this unnecessary extra heat energy and pollution.
Do I actually have the power to make a difference?
Another simple answer: Yes. As previously mentioned, glass is a very popular product, meaning that it is produced on a large scale, yielding large levels of air and liquid pollution. To illustrate the magnitude of glass production, in 2017 the European Union alone produced roughly 36 million tonnes of glass (Glass Alliance Europe). That’s equal to roughly 72billion wine bottles. As an individual, you have the power to supply manufacturers with your old glass bottles, in turn reducing the harmful emissions from each new bottle produced. By recycling as much glass as you consume, you have the power to prevent pollution and promote global health. It’s as simple as separating your glass from your regular waste, and letting Glass Bag Collection do the rest. That’s something to raise your glass to.
“Industries.”Glass Industries, Glass Alliance Europe,www.glassallianceeurope.eu/en/industries.“Recycling Glass - How It Helps Environment.” World Wildlife Fund, https://wwf.panda.org/knowledge_hub/teacher_resources/project_ideas/recycling_glass.cfm.