Being eco-aware and mindful of impact will not only help save the planet by helping to reduce our environmental waste, but will also assist in creating work and employment as waste separation supports the businesses of collectors, environmental entrepreneurs and recycling buy-back centres. It’s December and that means that the holiday season is here. We are all looking forward to a well-deserved break after this complicated year. Make sure to keep mindful environmentalism on your to do lists during this festive time, and also make it part of your 2021 New Year resolutions. We can celebrate in a green way these holidays!
Whether you are heading to the Kruger National Park, or to the coast, or if you are spending time with family, being away from home is no excuse to set aside your year-round recycling habits. Here are some benefits of why you should continue to recycle your glass bottles and jars even while on holiday:
What’s the impact of recycling glass?
- The creation of employment opportunities – both in the recycling and glass collection industries
- Saving the earth – less recyclable packaging being sent to landfills. This is important as we are fast running out of space for our rubbish ‘tips’ or landfills
- Reduction in pollution – glass produced from recycled glass rather than raw materials decreases air pollution by 20% and water pollution by 50%
- For every ton of glass recycled, over a ton of the raw materials used to make glass is saved, and 670 kilograms of carbon dioxide is prevented from being released into the atmosphere
Here are some ideas to keep the holidays as eco-friendly as possible:
- All glass bottles and jars, from your holiday meals and sundowners, can be recycled. To do so, simply rinse them and remove their lids or caps. Then drop them off at your nearest glass bank. These can be found in your major metropoles, so find your nearest glass bank no matter where you travel to.
- If this is a bit of a drive, make sure to collect any bottles and jars over the course of your trip, until such time as you have a bag or boxful. Be sure to drop them off at a recycling bank. Also note that within South Africa it is not necessary to separate different coloured glass before placing it into a glass bank.
- Returnable bottles such as alcohol beverage bottles in ‘quart’ sizes and some glass cold drink bottles can be returned to the retailer for a returns refund.
- The creative and inspired among you can find new uses for glass bottles or jars, like employing glass jars as glassware to bring a trendy feel to your bohemian strawberry cocktails. Glass jars can also be used or rather reused in other ways, for instance fill them up with a variety of chocolates and sweets and wrap up as a present, or as a cost-effective flower vase alternative.
- Reuse old containers – they are great for storing paint, crayons, buttons, and arts and crafts tools such as paint brushes, rulers and much more.
- Plan your trips to the bottle banks to fit into your daily schedule – it will become part of your routine rather than a chore! Take your children along with you and show them how and where to put their bottles.
What glass can and cannot be recycled?
- Recycle all glass containers – not just beverage bottles. Containers that hold food and are made of glass are all recyclable, such as gherkin jars, tomato sauce bottles, mayonnaise bottles, chutney bottles, jam jars.
- Glass that cannot be recycled: light bulbs and cookware such as “Pyrex”, light bulbs, laboratory glass, windshields and window pane glass are NOT recyclable. They have different properties that can contaminate a recyclable load of glass.
In South Africa, it is not necessary to wash glass before placing it into glass banks, and in addition to this, we don’t need to separate different coloured glass into separate banks.
All in all – recycling is very easy. More than 8 out of 10 bottles and jars are prevented from entering landfills through the returnable bottling system and recycling of glass. Through the tips mentioned above, you can play a role in helping to boost this eco-stat by recycling, reusing, and returning.