Recycling 101: Seeing is believing

Steve Davies

By Steve Davies, Healthy Planet Staff Writer

So, I thought I would start off with what I would consider the simplest of the three basic materials being recycled today, glass. As I first talked about, I still remember our local recycling center having three individual glass bins, one for green, one for brown and one for clear glass. As recycling centers dwindle however and recycling bins pop-up more and more across neighborhoods, it’s now more common to simply throw all your glass bottles and jars into that one bin.

Part of what makes them so simple to recycle is that there are really only a couple of rules when it comes to recycling bottles and jars. The first one is to simply rinse them out. The other rule and one that I have probably been guilty of not doing in the past is removing the lids. They’re also something that I would also like to and plan to, delve more into what materials are used to make those lids. I know that some lids like bottle caps are metal and therefore recyclable. I’ve often wondered, however, if there are any other materials such as plastic used to make some of these lids. I guess we’ll have to do some digging and as a librarian, there’s nothing I enjoy more. For those of you wondering about labels, it is okay to leave the labels.

Now while I think it’s safe to say that bottles and jars are the vast majority of glass that is thrown into those bins, there are other products made out of glass that unfortunately are not recyclable. Of those, glassware is probably at the top of the list. The other two glass items that I think follow close behind are windows and to a lesser extent, mirrors. The reason being is that all three of these glass items are manufactured differently than those standard bottles and jars. In fact, if you have the chance to see any of the local ads on tv these days that talk about getting new windows, it seems all of them are no longer simply glass.

All in all, glass bottles and jars do have a couple of advantages over most of the other products being recycled today. First, glass does not lose its quality over time, so they can actually be recycled over and over. In addition, they also have the best turnaround time, in that they can be recycled and back on the shelves in as little as thirty days. For me, they’re also great for holding things I collect on vacation like rocks. Just ask my kids.

For questions about recycling email me at thprecycler@yahoo.com