Recycling your glass bottles & jars

On a recent trip to Berlin I was shocked at the price of a bottle of beer in a bar but then pleasantly surprised when almost half my money was handed back when I'd finished with the drink.  Typical German efficiency - not only is their set up not costing the taxpayer a penny but it allows the bottles to be sterilised and re-used too which is even better than recycling them.

I don’t know about you, but I'm (just about) old enough to remember when I was a kid volunteering to take pop bottles back to the shop for a few pennies.  So I guess you could say I was always of an early supporter of recycling.  Even when this arrangement came to a halt I continued to lug bags of glass bottles down to the Council bottle banks for recycling.

Now all the heavy lifting is done for us (quite literally) by those nice chaps from Veolia, it really is easy to recycle your glass bottles and jars.  That said if you are able to re-use glass this is still the best option, environmentally speaking. So if you can have milk delivered in glass bottles, as they can be re-used up to 20 times before recycling.  Alternatively you can re-use containers yourself, for candle holders, storing lose items or making home-made jam.  If you cannot find a way to re-use it then make sure you always recycle your glass bottles & jars.

Apart from helping keep stuff out of landfill - one of the best things about glass recycling is that it saves loads of energy - even when you knock off all the collection and haulage we save one-third of a tonne of CO2 for every tonne of glass recycled.  On average, each household in Shrewsbury goes through 330 glass bottles and jars a year.  Recycling rather than dumping them means you help save enough energy to power your computer for five days.  So imagine if every household in Shrewsbury recycled all their glass bottles & jars - that would be 15 million of the things every year - now that really would save a lot of energy.

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James Thompson James Thompson

Waste Prevention Officer, Waste Management, Shropshire Council

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