I’ve always been a fairly rabid recycler. I’ve been known to bring home glass when recycling wasn’t available, or spend five minutes rinsing out glass jars. Recently, I came across a ‘recycling factoid’ that motivates me to continue hauling home glass and rinsing out containers.
Glass bottles can take up to a million years to breakdown. A million years! That has to be one of the longer life spans on the planet.
So how are we doing glass recycling wise? According to the EPA, 28% of all glass containers were recycled in 2007. By comparison, 50% of aluminum cans are recycled in the United States. So we could be doing a little better.
Bottle recycling rates are higher - 34% of glass beer and soft drink bottles are recycled. In California, glass bottle recycling is nearly 79%. Nice!
What can you do?
- When you’re in a public place without recycling, consider hauling home glass. You can leave a trash bag in the trunk of your car for such things.
- The next time you consider trashing a glass container, reconsider.
I thought about throwing out the smaller jar pictured above. It had some icky sticky cheesy sauce inside it. I didn’t want to take the time to rinse the jar. But then… I thought about the glass sitting in a landfill for a million years, instead of being recycled into a new glass container. One million years. Nope, can’t do it. I tipped the jar upside down in my sink and later ran hot water into the jar. It only took a few minutes and now I’m glad I saved the jar.
It takes as little as 30 days for recycled glass to go from your recycling bin to a new glass container. Much better than sitting in a landfill for a million years. So go ahead save jars and bottles!
Are you a ribid recycler? Do you have a recycling story to share? Please leave a Comment.